Coughing is an important protective reflex of the body in order to expel foreign bodies, mucus or dust from the lungs. The cough reflex frees the airways and protects them from becoming narrowed.
Coughing can occur as a result of respiratory problems, heart disease, or as a side effect of medication. Most often, the cough is due to a cold. Most often, a dry, unproductive cough occurs initially and develops into a productive cough after a few days. A productive cough is the promotion of secretions, i.e. mucus or the like, through coughing.
There are two different types of medication that are supposed to influence the cough. On the one hand the cough removers (Expectorants) and on the other hand the cough suppressants (Antitussives).
Cough removers are used to treat productive coughs to help expectorate the phlegm and thus eliminate the cause of the cough, namely the phlegm.
Cough suppressant: The unproductive dry cough is treated with cough suppressants to suppress the annoying urge to cough.
Combination preparations that are intended to promote coughing and breastfeeding can only be advised against, as the respective agents work against each other. The urge to cough is annoying, but should not be suppressed, especially if the cough is very productive.
The so-called Expectorants (Expectorant) should the Promote secretion of leaflet secretions and the viscosity reduce. That means the slime increased is produced and more fluid is.
They include a wide variety of different drugsthat continue in Secretolytics and Mucolytics to be grouped. The Secretolytics promote the formation of Bronchial mucusin which the secretion-producing glands are stimulated while Mucolytics mainly serve the Slime too liquefy.
But before drug therapy is resorted to, an attempt should be made to clear the mucus through simple Home remedies to solve. The simplest and most important piece of advice is much to drink. The fluid liquefies the mucus and enables better expectoration. So water or hot tea should be given in sufficient quantities.
That too Inhale steam loosens the mucus. The simplest method is to boil water and sit over the hot water with a cloth over your head and inhale the hot steam.
Also herbal supplements can have a cough-dissolving effect. Have an expectorant and expectorant effect essential oils, like eucalyptus, Kettle needle, Peppermint or thyme. These can be added to the water bath when inhaling. Most essential oils also relax the bronchial muscles, making it easier to cough up. However, it is important to note that these essential oils are used in asthmatics, Infants and small children to Glottic cramps and thereby lead to acute shortness of breath. They should therefore be used with particular care if a underlying asthmatic disease is known and in the case of children a doctor should be consulted before use.
Alternatively there is also Creamsthat contain the essential oils and on the Painted chest become. The body heat acts on the inhalation through the lungs.
The essential oils are also in numerous Cough syrups, Cough drops and Bath oils contain. Also Angelica root is a herbal expectorant that helps against tightness in the chest. Also the Primrose root is a healing natural cough remover. Its active ingredients, the saponins (also contained in liquorice), have a loosening and stimulating effect on the secretions and can be taken as tea or are in the together with thyme extract Phytotherapeutic Bronchial contain.
The Combination preparation Myrtol from naturopathy brings together cineole, pine extract and lime. As a result, it not only has a secretolytic effect but also a secretomotor effect, dilates the bronchi and is antimicrobial.
In addition, ivy (Prospan, Sinuc, Hedelix, Bronchostad cough remover) also used as a plant-based expectorant.
In the foreground the drug therapy there are three active ingredients: acetylcysteine (ACC), Bromhexine and ambroxol.
Most often will ACC as a cough suppressant prescribed. The active principle, which has been accepted for a long time, is based on the assumption that ACC reduces the viscosity of the mucus by creating chemical compounds through acetylcysteine (Disulfide chains) are split in the long-chain slime molecules. Since this effect cannot be confirmed in today's oral use, it is now assumed that the properties of the mucus will rather be adjusted to the physiological norm and acetylcysteine will continue to be used as antioxidant works. It is important to note at simultaneous intake of ACC and Antibiotics that the antibiotics are absorbed faster by ACC. Therefore should a two hours apart between taking both drugs.
Changed in contrast to ACC Bromhexine By inducing certain enzymes, the mucus viscosity, as the enzymes are responsible for breaking down the mucus. In addition, bromhexine also stimulates the Mucus production on.
The drug comes from bromhexine Ambroxol which is a metabolic product of bromhexine. It also includes another mechanism of action. This describes the activation of so-called Surfactant, which reduces the surface tension of the mucus and so the The cohesion of the mucus is reduced.
You should also take a break from taking the last-mentioned drugs two hours in case of antibiotic therapy consist.
All medicinal cough suppressants can Side effects cause. You may experience allergic reactions while taking ACC, Gastrointestinal complaints, Headache and tinnitus come on. Bromhexine and Ambroxol can also cause gastrointestinal discomfort as well Hypersensitivity reactions to the skin and mucous membranes and shortness of breath.
In numerous studies, however, no superiority of the medicinal cough suppressants compared to placebo or fluid intake has been proven. The use of cough removers must therefore be questioned critically.
Cough remover in pregnancy and in children
As with any other medication, it must also be used when taking Cough removers consideration should be given to the possible harm to the unborn child.
Generally apply herbal supplements as better tolerated, but since there are often no or only little study data for use during pregnancy, they should not be taken uncritically.
The previous experience of taking ACC shows in pregnancy no discernible risk for all stages of pregnancy and the Lactation on.
The data on the use of Bromhexine and Ambroxol is mainly based on long market experience and it can be assumed that bromhexine does not cause any harm to the child.
However, there are different recommendations for the use of the drugs mentioned above, which is why one Self-medication is not recommended in any case and it is recommended to consult a doctor. When using herbal cough removers Children with to cough It must be noted that the essential oils are common allergic reaction and constriction of the bronchi can result. To prevent shortness of breath, these remedies should be used just be careful be used in children.
The Cough suppressants are used at unproductive dry coughto reduce the cough attacks regardless of the cause.
Before the medicinal cough suppressants are presented, the herbal cough suppressants to be viewed as. The most important are extracts from coltsfoot, mallow, Icelandic moss and Marshmallow root, which produce a thin film of slime that prevents the Lower the cough reflex should or at least Reduction of irritation procured.
The effectiveness however, this preparation is controversial. However, they do A good alternative for children to the medicinal preparations there.
An essential part of drug cough suppressant therapy is the use of Opioids. These act centrally, which means that they inhibit the reflex center for the cough in the brain stem. The group of cough suppressants includes codeine and its derivatives Hydrocodone and Dextromethorphan and the Noscapine.
Side effects This group of substances is constipation and occasionally nausea. Tread very rarely Breathing difficulties as side effects, there are often underlying diseases with weakening of the airways.
Codeine has an easy one Addictive potentialwhich is why it is often used as a substitute drug in the drug scene.
Equated in effectiveness with codeine Dextromethorphan, which is a popular alternative to codeine also because of its less addictive is given. Above all, however, both drugs lower that Cough frequency and rather subordinate the Cough intensity. These drugs are not yet subject to the Narcotics Act.
Hydrocodone on the other hand, the cough is more attenuated than codeine and, because of its greater potential for addiction, is also the Narcotics controls assumed. It is particularly suitable for the use of Dry cough in cancer patients.
This is the chemical difference to the agents already mentioned Noscapine, which has a good cough suppressant effect, but in contrast to the classic opioids does not trigger any pain-relieving or euphoric effects.
The previously mentioned centrally acting drugs were more or less assigned to the group of opioids, but there are also some other centrally acting drugs that can be used as cough suppressants. These include antihistamines, which are also used to treat allergies.
Peripherally effective cough suppressants attack in different places to calm the urge to cough. However, the drugs in this field are usually poorly investigated in clinical studies or are associated with considerable problems.
Chronic coughs associated with bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases prohibit the use of centrally acting cough suppressants from the opioid family, as the opioid-typical side effect of respiratory depression poses too great a risk for these patients.
It is also important that the opioids because of the sedative effect to a Restriction of roadworthiness comes.
Cough suppressants during pregnancy and in children
Even with the Cough suppressants there are different opinions on the strict one Use in pregnant women and Children.
The use of central cough suppressants is only at Children from two years allowed. Infants and children under 14 years allowed to not with hydrocodone be treated.
In the pregnancy allowed to Hydrocodone and Pentoxyverine not used become.
In the Lactation Dextromethorphan is added as a prohibited drug.
Other information prohibits ingestion from all central cough suppressants during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Should peripheral cough suppressants caution is also required. Most substances are also not recommended during pregnancy. The only peripheral cough suppressant drug that can be used from the 1st month of life is Clobutinol.
In any case, the cough should first be tried with simple means. By a sufficient amount of water to drink and Steam inhalation the mucus can be loosened and coughed up more easily. If the cough is still painful despite all the home remedies, the drugs described can be used.
However, it should be noted that Cough remover and Not cough suppressants at the same time are used. If the cough persists, it is advisable to seek the advice of a doctor who will make the therapy more effective and rule out other diseases of the respiratory tract.