Among medications used for treating cough and breathing related ailments, Mucinex DM ranks high in popularity. Additionally, the combination medication is also abused as a drug due to the mechanism of action of the medication. As a result of incorrect use and abuse, patients often report side effects of varying intensities. Let us take a detailed look at Mucinex DM side effects and the best methods of ensuring that the side effects are managed or mitigated effectively. With the right kind of precautions and recommended usage it is possible to prevent the manifestation of serious side effects to a certain extent.
Medication overview of combination ingredients and Mucinex DM side effects
Before we look at Mucinex DM side effects it is important to look at both combination ingredients to understand the mechanism of action. The first molecule in the drug is dextromethorphan which is structurally similar to opioids. It is typically used as a cough suppressant and for treatment of illnesses related to the upper respiratory tract. One of the reasons for the abuse of the drug is its moderate therapeutic window, wherein intake of higher dosage results in intoxication. The drug works by suppressing cough through its action on specific receptors in the brain. As a result the urge to cough is suppressed, which in turn prevents the individual from coughing and from experiencing the adverse effects of coughing.
The second molecule in the combination medication is Guaifenesin, that belongs to the expectorant class of drugs. This works by reducing the thickness of mucus and loosening the mucus, thereby freeing the airways, facilitating breathing. By facilitating cough the medication helps to relieve congestion, and in combination with dextromethorphan, offers considerable relief from cough and other illnesses related to the upper respiratory tract. Both the molecules have been in use for more than six decades since receiving FDA approval for respective uses.
Commonly reported Mucinex DM side effects
By virtue of the mechanism of action of the combination medication, Mucinex DM side effects may be relatively stronger than other medications of similar categories. For instance the combination medication is considered as unsafe for use by children below the age of 4 years. Despite its use in prescription and over the counter medication for a very long time, the ingredients in the medication have warranted a disclosure from manufacturers warning users that it is not suitable for use in children.
Mucinex DM side effects on the digestive tract – The combination medication can cause side effects on the digestive system, especially when the dosage exceeds prescribed/recommended limits. Symptoms of such effects include bouts of vomiting and nausea, sudden onset of constipation despite proper diet, and abnormal stomach ache. Patients who experience these symptoms when on the drug should seek medical attention as this could indicate adverse effects on the digestive tract.
Mucinex DM side effects on the nervous system – By virtue of the mechanism of action of dextromethorphan in suppressing cough through receptors in the brain, side effects are likely to be experienced by patients. Symptoms associated with these side effects include drowsy feelings with possible dizziness apart from headache. The onset of these symptoms are rare in nature and wherever the condition is either intense or persistent, it is important to seek medical intervention. These symptoms may be experienced even when the patient is on the recommended/prescribed dosage.
Mucinex DM side effects on the skin – Allergic reactions are a possibility, and this could occur even when the patient takes the medication as per prescribed/recommended dosages. The most common allergic reaction is a rash, that could sometimes manifest into swollen lips. The swelling may sometimes spread to the tongue and could also result in unusual difficulty while breathing. When allergies end up causing breathing difficulties, it is a clear indication of a severe reaction and it is necessary to seek urgent medical intervention to get the allergy in check.
Mucinex DM side effects attributed to abuse of the medication – There is a likelihood of the combination medication triggering certain side effects as a result of abuse. This occurs as individuals are known to take the medication due to the intoxicating effect at higher doses, and also in an attempt to get faster relief from the conditions. The premise of higher dosages offering faster relief may itself be erroneous, while simultaneously exposing the patient to risks. Symptoms of abuse of the medication include difficulty in breathing, sudden onset of vomiting and intense nausea. Patients are likely to end up feeling confused at times, and experience severe drowsiness, in addition to finding themselves getting irritated easily. Other symptoms include possible seizures and feelings of restlessness or agitation. In some instances, the patient may feel jittery or uneasy, and also possibly hallucinate.
Kidney stones as a result of Mucinex DM side effects – In certain patients kidney stones are also known to form as a result of abuse of the medication. The symptoms associated with such side effects include intense and persistent pain in the back and the side. Patients are also likely to experience a burning sensation when passing urine, while others may sense foul odor emanating from urine. In some cases, urine of patients could also be discolored, while some others may observe traces of blood in the urine. Fever is likely to be experienced by patients while a few may have vomiting sensations. Individuals experiencing these symptoms are to seek medication attention at the earliest to prevent the condition from worsening.
How to manage overdose of the combination medication
In addition to Mucinex DM side effects it is also important to manage conditions that arise due to overdose of the medication. Overdose may result In vomiting and nausea commonly, while other possible effects include blurring of vision and a change in normal reflex actions of the muscles. There is a possibility of serotonin syndrome, and respiratory depression due to overdose. The only possible method of managing overdose is to rely on supportive measures and to tackle each of the symptoms individually.
Drug interactions and Mucinex DM side effects
In addition to Mucinex DM side effects there is also the possibility of drug interactions. Individuals who have been on MAO inhibitors are not to the combination medication. There should be a clear gap of one fortnight from the time either of the medications have been used. For instance, individuals on MAO inhibitors should not take Mucinex DM for atleast two weeks from the time of stopping MAO inhibitors and vide versa. There is a possibility of patients developing serotonin syndrome as a result of the drug interaction. This could manifest into more serious conditions and can also be life threatening in rare circumstances. It is therefore necessary to ensure that there is a clear gap between both the medications as recommended.
Mucinex DM is a good choice for individuals seeking medications to treat cough and other breathing related ailments. However, it is necessary to ensure that the dosage is as per recommendations and patients are strictly advised to check for possible known drug interactions. The onset of any symptoms that indicate possible side effects needs to be managed as early as possible, with severe and persistent symptoms requiring medical intervention. Side effects that are classified as serious in nature need immediate specialist care and attention.