Medicine to help thin mucus - British Lung Foun...

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Medicine to help thin mucus


What medicines are best to help clear mucus, I have head cold at moment, no sign of anything chesty or sinister and fingers crossed that's how it stays. I'm using that Vicks first defence as precaution, but I'm all full of mucus, I'm seeing ENT specialist Thursday and Resp cons on Friday so I was gonna ask for something.

What do you guys use, I know there's few things available? Also some thing that's unlikely to cause side effects as I'm very sensitive to a lot of medication lots of stuff I can't take, which isn't helpful!

12 Replies

I take carbocistine and this helps thin the mucus. They are capsules but it's also available as a syrup if you have trouble swallowing them. You need to have a word with your GP.

Over the counter meds otravine is good. From gp carbocistine. Use steam to help loosen nose and sinuses. Hope you feel netter soon

carbocistein capsules (prescribed)

guaifenesin over the counter, look for it in Vicks mucus cough, Benylin Mucus Cough and Robitussin Chesty Cough

The respiratory doc and GP can prescribe the carbocistein

My respiratory doc said to me recently before starting any antibiotics try to put in a mucus sample for testing, then start the meds and wait to get results of the mucus test to be sure the antibiotic is the right one.

I think you mean just nasal mucus? If so then the carbocysteine mentioned is specifically for lung mucus only, doesn't work for sinuses.

I have carbocysteine for lung health and a daily steroid nasal spray for sinus problems. Have a word with the pharmacist, they're very helpful, in the mean time drink loads of fluid to help the mucus stay moist & easier to shift wherever it is. Some people use saline solution to wash out nasal passages. My ENT specialist recommended over the counter Sterimar, a sterile sea/salt water spray. Good luck, P

I find Tesco own brand of chesty cough medicine works best for me. I always have 1 in the fridge. guifenesen I believe is the active ingredient, it is that ingredient I just believe that’s how you spell it lol lol xx

You might find this helpful.

In addition to other replies for Bronchi mucous my GP recommended Erdotin which is fairly new and seems to have had some good success. But it is worth trying to get a specific med for dealing with wherever the mucous collects

If its sinuses I ate hot wings the other night and it cleared it and you need a Dr to eat spicey food and it's safe

Saline neti nasal/sinus wash - from Amazon or Boots if you want it immediately. Use as often as you like, no side effects other than you may make your nose sting if you make it too strong.

Neilmed or other makes Neti pot & ready mixed sachets. It's not a cure - nothing is, but you'll feel a lot clearer.

Be careful using Otravine & the like for more than a few days as there's a danger of 'rebound' - rhinitis medicamentosa.

I only use it as a last resort just at week-end to get a good nights sleep.

in reply to soulsaver

Thanks I never use Vicks or otrivine due to that reason I am Using Vicks first defence but it's not to clear the nose just to hopefully stop the cold getting worse. I do use Neilmed sinus rinse and it's good and Sterimar too, lots of steam. My usual state is mucus and bunged up but when I have a head cold it's like cement is stuck up my nose! Seeing very good ENT chap Thursday so I'm hoping he'll come up with something, he's my last resort re my nose, so no pressure then!


Hi, have you tried carbocisteine, it breaks down the mucus & makes it easier to cough up.

I use it together with a little gadget that the pulmonary nurse gave me. It's made by Clement Clarke International Ltd CM20 2TT, it's about 70mm long and acts like a non return valve. You simply "huff" into it to start the mucus moving, carry this out before taking other meds and as it clears the tubes the meds go straight to your lungs. The are no side effects. Try it.


Hi Shancock I have had a problem recently and find sainsburys adult chesty cough syrup (guaifenesin) together with drinking plenty of water and having a good huff clear the stuborn mucus. x

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