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What Is Guaifenesin and How Does It Work?

Guaifenesin syrup is used to treat coughs and congestion caused by the common cold, bronchitis, and other breathing illnesses. Guaifenesin is usually not used for ongoing cough from smoking or long-term breathing problems (such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema) unless directed by your doctor. Guaifenesin is an expectorant. It works by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier.

If you are self-treating with guaifenesin, it is important to read the package instructions carefully before you start using this product to be sure it is right for you.

Cough-and-cold products have not been shown to be safe or effective in children younger than 6 years. Therefore, do not use guaifenesin to treat cold symptoms in children younger than 6 years unless specifically directed by the doctor. Some products (such as long-acting tablets/capsules) are not recommended for use in children younger than 12 years. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details about using your product safely.

Products that include guaifenesin do not cure or shorten the length of the common cold. To decrease the risk for side effects, carefully follow all dosage directions. Do not give other cough-and-cold medication that might contain the same or similar ingredients (see also Drug Interactions section). Ask the doctor or pharmacist about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms (such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier or saline nose drops/spray).

Guaifenesin is available under the following different brand names: Mucinex, Bidex 400, and Organidin NR.

Dosages of Guaifenesin

Adult and Pediatric Dosage Forms & Strengths

200 mg
400 mg
Tablet, extended-release

600 mg
1200 mg
Oral syrup

100 mg/5mL

100 mg/5mL
200 mg/5mL

50 mg
100 mg
Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

100-400 mg orally every 4 hours; not to exceed 2.4 g/day

Extended release: 1-2 tablets (600-1200 mg) orally every 12 hours; not to exceed 4 tablets/24 hours (2.4 g/day)


Children 6 months to 2 years: 25-50 mg every 4 hours; not to exceed 300 mg/day

Children 2-6 years: 50-100 mg orally every 4 hours; not to exceed 600 mg/day

Children 6-12 years: 100-200 mg orally every 4 hours; not to exceed 1.2 g/day

Children older than 12 years

100-400 mg orally every 4 hours; not to exceed 2.4 g/day, OR
1-2 extended-release tablets (600-1200 mg) orally every 12 hours; not to exceed 4 tablets/24 hours (2.4 g/day)
Swallow extended-release tablets whole; do not chew or crush


What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Guaifenesin?

Common side effects of guaifenesin include:

Decreased uric acid levels
Stomach pain
Postmarketing side effects of guaifenesin reported include:

Kidney stone formation


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