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Carbocysteine reduces the amount of mucous in your airways.

Pronunciation: KAR-boe-SIS-te-een

What are carbocysteine’s uses?

Carbocysteine is used to treat excessive mucous build-up causing problems in the respiratory tract. It reduces the amount of phlegm — making it less sticky and easy to cough up, and is used for people with long-term respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It’s available as capsules, oral liquid medicine for adults, and oral liquid medicine for children (aged 2 to 12 years).

What dosage should you take?

The typical dose for adults is 500 to 750mg, taken three times daily. For children aged 5 to 12 years, it's 50mg taken three times daily.

However, first check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist, including paediatric dosages for children younger than five.

What special precautions should you take?

  • During pregnancy, it is best to avoid the use of carbocysteine as it could adversely impact your unborn child.
  • Don’t take carbocysteine while breastfeeding.
  • Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist if you have stomach (peptic) ulcers.
  • Not suitable for children under two or infants.

Carbocysteine should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Allergic (hypersensitive) to carbocysteine or any of the other ingredients
  • An active stomach (peptic) ulcer
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Severe kidney impairment
  • Porphyria (a group of rare genetic disorders that affect mainly the skin or nervous system)

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are carbocysteine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Certain types of dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), erythema multiforme (an inflammatory skin condition) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a life-threatening skin condition)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Skin rash or rashes
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Call a doctor or the ambulance immediately if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Upset stomach
  • Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract (blood in vomit or black stools)
  • Skin rash, swelling, or blistering
  • Anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction)
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015