British Lung Foundation

How to get Mucodyne?

Hi all,

MrCoughcough here, I'm a newbie to the forum, wondered if anybody can help. I've had a perpetual phlegmy cough (chronic) for 4 years now, not sure what's brought it on - might have been related to smoking cigars occasionally in the past (naughty I know), or a hereditary reason. Has only really been noticeable for the past 4 years though.

Coincidentally I've had a series of fairly nasty chest infections in the same timeframe, which have each cleared up with antibiotics or use of 'Bronchostop' (which is meant to be homeopathic but actually contains a mild antibiotic as a preservative), but I'd rather not have the cough to start with!

I've been to the doctors 4 or 5 times in the interim and my faith in them is somewhat lacking. I've never seen the same doctor twice, and finally an athsma nurse decised I have athsma, even though I get a good result on the 'puff test' and am otherwise fit (I did the 100 mile ride london bike ride in aid of BLF in only 6 1/2 hours).

I tried the blue inhaler, the brown inhaler and the pink inhaler. The inhalers felt good, particularly the pink, but made diddly squat difference to the phlegmy cough. I don't think I have athsma - chest is never tight, no difficulty breathing, just phlegm phlegm phlegm. Also, because I swallow it all, it has an unpleasant effect on my stool too. Gross.

Through my own research I've deduced that I probably have some variation of bronchioecstasis/COPD/PAP : they're all slightly different I gather but common theme being clogged alveolae due to phlegm too sticky.

I've read that the best thing for this is a mucoregulator, and that one of the best ones is carbocisteine, or mucodyne being the brand name.

I've since been to the doctor to request a prescription for this and she didn't want to know, made up some excuse about not having my medical records from the previous surgery I was registered at, and that I could have an athsma attack at any time and that's probably why I was coughing. Useless.

So, regardless I still think that Mucodyne could really help my quality of life, lord knows everyone in my office is fed up with my hacking and trying to clear my throat every five minutes - but you can't get it without a prescription.

I even tried a dodgy russian website that was selling it without prescription but I balked and cancelled my credit card after placing the order when things didn't add up. (This was 'United Pharmacy LCC')

I've also seen that has an online diagnosis feature where I could request this, has anyone used this? I've tried lloyds pharmacy and they won't talk to you.

Bottom line is, I really think I could benefit from Mucodyne but don't trust my doctor to give me a correct diagnosis that would lead them to prescribe this - I've just been pigeon-holed as a wheezing asthmatic, despite having none of the symptoms and that none of the inhalers make a damn bit of difference to the mucus.

Should I go back to my doctor and try again? Or does anyone know of a reliable source that avoids the spanish inquisition?

Is there a way to get carbocisteine over the counter at all?

Many thanks in advance for any advice, am at my wits end, fed up of *ahem* clearing my throat constantly, everyone thinks I'm trying to get their attention all the time...!!



15 Replies


I was on this myself for a short time and this medication wouldn't stop your mucus forming,,,, its used to help thin the mucus and make it less sticky so its easier to cough up but it dosnt make it go away

I would go back and have another chat with your doctor


First question- why in all this time haven't you seen a consultant for a proper diagnosis and instructions to your GP as to how to treat you.?

Everybody will tell you, if you can swallow it you can cough it up. It is a laborious and never ending process but has to be done. The stuff cannot stay down there because the germs have a party and infection multiplies.

Mucodyne is only one aid to making mucus thinner so that it can be coughed up but you need to be willing to spend time loossening out of your lungs and actually coughing it out first.

As you say, it could be COPD, bronchiectasis ( which I have) or some other condition. Without a proper diagnosis from a consultant all of the treatment that you have had so far is simply tinkering around the edges and leads nowhere.

So my advice is, get your GP to refer you and don't take no for an answer.

Good luck I hope that you get sorted out and a programme of dealing with whatever you have so that you will feel better.


Well I've not been to a consultant because it's been so difficult to get an appointment, and the few I've managed to get the doctors or athsma nurses were so dismissive I wasn't taken seriously.

As a result I've lost trust in the profession as a whole and have turned to self diagnosis!

Maybe I need to go back and say exactly that...


I do sympathise. There are many on here who find GPs frankly useless. Especially with bronchiectasis. They know virtually nothing about it. Respiratory nurses can be just as bad but to be dismissive is atrocious and should be reported via the complaints procedure.

Unfortunately in our system we have to use GPs to get access to the help we need. You don't need to voice your contempt for the medical profession to your GP at this point but do be very firm about a referral to a good consultant, at a large teaching hospital if you have one near you. They have left you in discomfort and at risk of developing full blown lung infections and have no right to refuse to refer you. It is your right to get consultant based treatment - oh and yes, a proper diagnosis would be a good first step.


Hi I would go back to your gp and demand a spirometry test. This is one a respiratory nurse can do at the surgery and is the usual way to diagnose copd. If nothing show us on that then the next step would be to have an x-ray and a CT scan. x


Thanks I may try that!


The bottom line is really a proper diagnosis coughcough so get back to your doctor and discuss how you are feeling. Good luck to you. Xxxx


Hi I tried Mucodyne for a while and still coughed up stuff.

But I was wondering if you have had a sputum sample tested to see if you have an infection in your lungs.


Yep the lungs naturally produce some mucus all the time so it's normal to cough occasionally, the point with mucodyne is that it's meant to reduce the viscosity of the phlegm and make it easier to bring up the sticky stuff that can cause a chest infection in the first place.

Guifeneisen or whatever it's called, the active ingredient in benylin does the same thing(expectorant) as would the old school glycerol or whisky/brandy based recipes to some extent.

I've read some medical reports on carbocisteine and it supposedly inhibits production of sol-phase proteins in the mucous, i.e. makes it less sticky in laymans terms - it won't stop me coughing, but it should help me shift the muck that creates the urge, which in turn is meant to result in less mucus production eventually, less frequent cough and so on, hence it is classed as a mucoregulator and not an expectorant. But I'm an engineer and not a pharmacist so what do I know, I've just approached the problem as if I'm a machine that needs fixing.

I'm convinced it will help, just can't lay my hands on the stuff, and won't know until I try - frustrating!


Hi what might also help is to cut down on dairy foods, as while these don't cause more mucus, they make it thicker. Drink lots of water as well. Only water or fruit juice, not tea, coffee or alcohol. This will thin it down. x


Carbocysteine can only be obtained on prescription in the UK.

When I've run out in both France and Croatia I've asked for it at at the pharmacies and been sold 'Acetylcyseine' as a bronchial decongestant which they insist is the same and what patients are prescribed there.

I believe it can be purchased in Holland and Barrett (in the UK). Some call it NAC. You can look them up on the search bar above fir previous post and replies.

If I were you I'd change my GP or see a consultant privately fir a ct scan which will soon diagnose COPD, bronchiectasis, something else or nothing.

Good luck to you coughcough. P


Aha! Is that so? Well, during my research I came across acetylcysiene as well, it's in the same group of mucoregulators as carbocysteine, well worth a try - I'm off to h&b tomorrow then, thanks for the tip!

1 like

Great advice above. Would just like to add my welcome.


I produce mucus in my lungs all the time. You could do Active Cycle of Breathing Technique to help cough up the mucus. I was taught it by a physiotherapist and I do ACBT in the morning and evening. It has completely changed my life as now I don't cough during the day. There is lots on the internet about ACBT; this is a good site v=XvorhwGZGm8

I was taught to do it lying down on each side but it can be done sitting up.

The website below may also be helpful (further down the page), especially the advice to put your head over a bowl of very hot water with a towel over your head to loosen the mucus. I also have a Flutter device which I bought which helps if the phlegm occasionally gets particularly stuck.

There is lots of information on the web on how to cough up mucus.

I hope this helps


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