Expectorants and antitussives are both types of medications used to treat respiratory issues. However, they work in different ways to achieve their goals.
Expectorants are medications that help loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory system. They work by increasing the amount of water in the respiratory tract, which helps to thin out mucus and make it easier to cough up. Some common expectorants include guaifenesin and ammonium chloride.
Antitussives, on the other hand, are medications that suppress or reduce coughing. They work by blocking the cough reflex in the brain, which can help to alleviate coughing caused by irritants or other respiratory issues. Some common antitussives include dextromethorphan and codeine.
It is important to note that while both types of medications can be effective for treating respiratory issues, they should not be used simultaneously. This is because expectorants help to expel mucus, while antitussives can suppress coughing, which can prevent the mucus from being cleared from the respiratory tract. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend alternating between the two medications to ensure that mucus is being expelled while coughing is controlled.