Active Ingredients

Ambroxol – Effect, Application & Risks


Ambroxol belongs to the group of antitussives ( cough relievers ) and is used to combat acute and chronic respiratory and lung diseases that are associated with a disruption in mucus formation and mucus evacuation. Ambroxol has proven to be a tolerable and extremely effective cough and mucus remover. Acute sore throat can also be successfully treated with the local anesthetic effect of ambroxol.

What is ambroxol?

Ambroxol has copied the mode of action, relief for the respiratory tract, from nature. For thousands of years, the leaves of the lungwort (Adhatoda vasica shrub) have been used in the Indian healing art of Ayurveda in cough therapy.

The active substance of the plant, vasicin, was isolated by medical research and significantly improved for Ambroxol. It can be dosed more precisely than the natural product, has a significantly increased effect and is better tolerated.

Ambroxol was launched in Germany in 1979 as Mucosolvan® and has proven to be an effective cough reliever. Along with Ambroxol, Mucosolvan is the most widely used cough medicine in the world.

The active ingredient ambroxol is a drug from the group of so-called mucolytics (medicines to liquefy tough mucus in the airways). Ambroxol is available in various dosage forms such as drops, tablets, prolonged-release capsules, effervescent tablets, juice, suppositories or inhalation concentrate.

Pharmacological action

Respiratory diseases with congestion are always accompanied by a restriction of breathing. The resulting reduced oxygen supply to the body can promote the causes of infections, narrowing of the airways, destruction of lung tissue, diseases of the blood vessels in the respiratory system, allergies or even tumors.

Congestion in the lungs provides a good breeding ground for viruses and bacteria . In the case of a viral flu-like effect, viruses are the cause of the disease and whitish mucus is coughed up. In the case of a viral influenza infection and the appearance of yellowish-green secretions, bacteria are probably the cause of the cough.

If the sputum is bloody, it could B. be an indication of the onset of pneumonia . In any case, you should seek medical advice immediately.

The pharmacological effect of ambroxol is particularly useful here with its expectorant and analgesic effect. Ambroxol also has a local anesthetic effect by interrupting the transmission of pain. Therefore, ambroxol has also been used as an active ingredient in throat pills for some time.

Medical Application & Use

The mucous membrane and ciliated epithelium form the cleaning system of the airways, which is crucial for keeping the airways clean of foreign substances.

Ambroxol supports this mucociliary cleansing system, which lines most of the airways, by thinning the mucus and stimulating the cilia in the bronchi to move.

Between the cilia are mucus-producing cells and glands. The bronchial mucus they produce binds harmful foreign substances, which are then transported out of the airways by the cilia. However, if this mucociliary cleaning system of the airways is overloaded, a coughing stimulus develops.

The bronchial mucus is then coughed up together with the foreign substances or foreign bodies by vigorous coughing. The cough with sputum, so-called productive cough, is to be distinguished from the dry , non-productive cough , which is caused by chemical irritation of the airways and does not help to clear the airways.

Ambroxol is successfully used in the following diseases: asthma , acute/ chronic bronchitis , COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), colds or cystic fibrosis . Recent studies show that ambroxol is also good for curbing pneumonia and other inflammatory processes.

Risks & side effects

Side effects during treatment with Ambroxol do not necessarily have to occur, but some are known. Since every person reacts differently to medication, the type and frequency of side effects also vary depending on the dosage form (tablet, injection, ointment) of a medication.

Gastrointestinal complaints have occasionally been observed with ambroxol administration, and abdominal pain and diarrhea can also occur in isolated cases . Fever and allergic reactions such as shortness of breath, urticaria with itching or facial swelling are possible in rare cases.

Rarer side effects:

Dry mouth and upper airways, increased salivation, increased runny nose, constipation or difficulty urinating.

Very rare side effects: allergic shock (anaphylactic shock)Contraindications:

Ambroxol should not be taken if you are hypersensitive to ambroxol or any of its other ingredients, if you have impaired kidney function or severe liver failure , or if you have a stomach or intestinal ulcer . Particular care should be taken when taking Ambroxol during pregnancy and lactation.

Interactions with Ambroxol:

It should not be taken together with a cough-suppressing drug (antitussive), as the reduced cough reflex can lead to an increased accumulation of secretions that cannot be coughed up. However, if the use of both drugs is indicated, then this therapy should always be accompanied by a doctor.

Ambroxol consistently shows good treatment success. However, if the clinical picture worsens or does not improve after 4 to 5 days, a doctor should be consulted.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.