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Carbocisteine (Carbocysteine, Mucolytic Agent)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Aug 20, 2022

Carbocisteine (Carbocysteine, Mucolytic Agent)

Carbocisteine (also spelled carbocysteine) is a mucolytic drug. A mucolytic works by thinning and loosening up thick mucus or phlegm (“plema“) making it easier to expel and clear out of the airways.



What is carbocisteine used for?

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Excessive mucus or sputum
  • Productive “wet” coughs

How should I take carbocisteine?

Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

Swallow the capsule whole without chewing, crushing, or dissolving it in liquid. It is best taken with meals. For oral suspensions, mix the directed amount of water to reconstitute it. Only use a medical-grade measuring cup, not a household spoon.

How do I store carbocisteine?

This product is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using carbocisteine?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Persistent cough for more than 3 weeks
  • Recurring fever accompanied with cough
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

    Side effects

    What side effects can occur from carbocisteine?

    Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Stomach upset

    Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:

    • Rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Tightness in the chest
    • Edema
    • Blood in the stools
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Hypoglycemia
    • Bloody vomit

    However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


    What drugs may interact with carbocisteine?

    This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

    To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

    Does food or alcohol interact with carbocisteine?

    This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

    What health conditions may interact with carbocisteine?

    This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

    • Peptic ulcer disease (PUD)


    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

    What is the dose for an adult?

    Take 1 to 2 caps or 1 to 2 teaspoonful, 3 or 4 times a day.

    What is the dose for a child?

    • 7-12 years: Give ½ to 1 teaspoonful 3 or 4 times per day.
    • 2-6 years: As prescribed by the physician.

    How is Carbocisteine available?

    Carbocisteine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

    • Tablet: 500 mg
    • Suspension: 200 mg/ 5 mL, 250 mg/5 mL, 500 mg/5 mL
    • Syrup: 100 mg/5mL
    • Oral drops: 40 mg/mL, 50 mg/mL

    What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

    In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

    What should I do if I miss a dose?

    If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


    Updated Aug 20, 2022

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