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- Product overview
Carbocisteine helps to make it easier to cough up sputum.
It works best when it is taken regularly.
There are two strengths of liquid medicine (syrup) - an adult's strength and a child's strength.
Side-effects with carbocisteine occur only rarely.
Carbocisteine works by making mucus (phlegm) less thick and sticky, and therefore easier to cough up. It may also have a knock-on effect of making it harder for bacteria to cause chest infections.
It needs to be taken regularly, and is most likely to help if you have moderate or severe COPD and have frequent or bad flare-ups.
Before taking carbocisteine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking carbocisteine it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have ever had a stomach ulcer.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take carbocisteine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about carbocisteine and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take carbocisteine exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your dose will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you. As a guide:
- The usual dose for an adult is: two 375 mg capsules three times a day, reduced, when symptoms improve, to one 375 mg capsule four times daily.
- The usual dose for a child aged 5-12 years is: 250 mg three times daily.
- The usual dose for a child aged 2-5 years is: 62.5 mg-125 mg four times daily. Children will be supplied with a paediatric (or children's) strength medicine.
- Carbocisteine works best when it is taken regularly. Try to take your doses at the same times of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take your doses regularly. It is not important whether you take carbocisteine before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress, as your doctor will want to check to make sure that carbocisteine is working well for you.
- People with COPD who exercise regularly tend to have improved breathing. Taking a daily walk is a good start if you are not used to exercise. Try to increase the level of your activity over time if you are able.
- If you are overweight it can make breathlessness worse. Ask a dietician to give you advice on healthy eating and how to lose weight.