Mucinex is an over-the-counter medication used to treat cough and chest congestion associated with a cold. The active ingredient in Mucinex is an expectorant called guaifenesin. Guaifenesin works to help loosen and thin mucous secretions in the chest in order to remove the congestion through coughing. The medication may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and a headache, according to MedlinePlus. Individuals need to consult with a physician or pharmacist before taking any medications.
Not for Pediatric Use
Children under the age of 12 should not take Mucinex. The manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser, produces a Mucinex product designed specifically for children, with proper dosages. Children under the age of four should not take cough or cold products without a physician's order, according to Drugs.com.
Use Cautiously with other Lung Conditions
Lung conditions such as asthma or chronic bronchitis may worsen while taking Mucinex. Smokers or individuals who have large amounts of mucus when coughing should consult a physician before taking Mucinex to avoid breathing problems.
Some individuals may confuse the name of medications with similar sounding names or with similar spelled names. Mucinex and the medication Mucomyst may become confused for some people, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Mucomyst is a liquid medication administered as an inhalant to treat serious lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis, emphysema and bronchitis.
Individuals using Mucinex need to increase fluid intake while taking this medication. The increased amount of fluids will help keep the secretions in the chest thin so the affected individual can cough up mucus easier.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need to consult a physician before taking Mucinex. Guaifenesin may harm a developing baby. The medication may place the baby at a higher risk of developing an inguinal hernia, according to BabyCenter LLC.
For side effects that become bothersome, individuals need to stop taking the medication and consult a physician. An individual experiencing a cough that persists for more than seven days, a cough that clears up and then returns, or additional symptoms such as headaches, a fever, or rash, need to report the condition to a physician for further evaluation. These symptoms may indicate a more serious medical condition that requires additional treatment.