expectorant n : a medicine promoting expectoration [syn: expectorator]
A mucolytic agent is any agent which dissolves thick mucus usually used to help relieve respiratory difficulties. (hydrolyzing glycosaminoglycans: tending to break down/lower the viscosity of mucin-containing body secretions/components). The viscosity of mucous secretions in the lungs is dependent upon the concentrations of mucoprotein, the presence of disulfide bonds between these macromolecules and DNA.
Mucolytics: N-acetylcysteine: an aerosolized mucolytic agent often used as adjunctive therapy for pulmonary complications of cystic fibrosis (CF) in combination with vigorous chest physiotherapy. N-acetylcysteine acts to split the sulfide bonds in the macromolecules thereby decreasing viscosity, allowing for removal by normal chest physiology. The action of N-acetylcysteine is pH dependent. Mucolytic action is significant at ranges of pH 7-9.(1)
Expectorants should not be confused with a mucolytic. Expectorants increase mucous production. Also, Codeine (sold as Robitussin in the US) is not a mucolytic.
expectorant in Catalan: Mucolític