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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2009 Mar;9(2):101-6.

Guaifenesin in rhinitis.

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  • 1The William Storms Allergy Clinic, Colorado Springs, CO 80907, USA.


Mucus in the airways is a complex mixture of water, lipids, glycoproteins, sugars, and electrolytes that serves as a lubricant for the epithelium. The efficient flow of respiratory mucus is a first level of immune defense that requires an appropriate viscosity and elasticity for optimal barrier and ciliary functions. Thickening and drying of airway mucus by respiratory tract infections, allergies, and drugs can impair evacuation. Tenacious, bothersome mucus is an annoying and frequent symptom of rhinitis that is difficult to manage. Common remedies include adequate hydration through fluid intake and nasal washes. The use of mucoactive agents is controversial due to limited data and equivocal efficacy in available studies. Nonetheless, some patients benefit. This review examines the use of guaifenesin (glyceryl guaiacolate) on bothersome nasal mucus associated with rhinitis, including the available published data and clinical experience.

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