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What Are the Medical Uses of Bromhexine?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2018
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Bromhexine is a mucolytic agent that is used as an active or secondary ingredient in many cold and cough medicines, in order to help patients find relief from excess mucous. It is available by prescription and over the counter in many forms for the treatment of respiratory issues that involve excess mucous and associated breathing problems. When taken in the proper dosage, it often helps the patient’s body to produce serous mucous in the respiratory tract. This causes the mucous to become thinner so it can be more easily expelled from the lungs through coughing.

This medication is often used to treat cough with excessive phlegm and acute or chronic illnesses that affect the respiratory system or cause respiratory distress. It is occasionally used in veterinary medicine to treat animals, particularly horses, suffering from respiratory diseases. It is not recommended for any other uses. The drug is available in both liquid and tablet form. The usual course of treatment often involves 8 to 16 milligrams of bromhexine, administered to the patient three times per day until symptoms are relieved. Children age six to 12 are administered one-half of an adult-sized dose three times per day, and children age two to six are administered one-fourth of an adult-sized dose. The drug is not recommended for children under two. It is often recommended that the drug be taken for no more than one consecutive week.

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Patients sometimes report side effects associated with the use of bromhexine. These can include diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, bloating, headaches, dizziness and sweating. Allergic reactions have been reported to products that contain the drug, including difficulty breathing, skin rashes and facial swelling. However, allergic reactions are rare. Administering the drug during meals can often help to alleviate or prevent the side effects.

Doctors often discourage patients with kidney disease, liver disease or stomach ulcers from taking bromhexine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take medicines containing the drug. The patient’s doctor should be informed of any other medications being taken, including over the counter and prescription medicines. If administered in the proper dosage and on time, bromhexine often causes mucous in the respiratory tract to become thinner. The cilia within the airways are then better able to transport the mucous out by way of coughing, which gives the patient relief from the symptoms of their illness.

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