Bromhexine is a mucolytic agent used in the treatment of respiratory disorders associated with viscid or excessive mucus. In addition, bromhexine has antioxidant properties.
Bromhexine supports the body's own natural mechanisms for clearing mucus from the respiratory tract.
It is secretolytic: that is, it increases the production of serous mucus in the respiratory tract and makes the phlegm thinner and less sticky. This contributes to a secretomotoric effect: it helps the cilia - tiny hairs that line the respiratory tract - to transport the phlegm out of the lungs. For this reason it is often added to some antitussive (cough) syrups.
Bromhexine is a synthetic derivative of the herbal active ingredient vasicine. It has been shown to increase the proportion of serous bronchial secretion, making it more easily to be expectorated. Bromhexine enhances also mucus transport by reducing mucus viscosity and by activating the ciliated epithelium. In clinical studies, Bromhexine showed secretolytic and secretomotoric effects in the bronchial tract area which facilitates expectoration and eases cough. It is indicated as “secretolytic therapy in bronchopulmonary diseases associated with abnormal mucus secretion and impaired mucus transport”. Bromhexine is contained in various formulations, high and low strength syrups 8mg/5ml, 4 mg/5ml, tablets and soluble tablets (both with 8 mg bromhexine) and solution for oral use 10 mg/ 5 ml), adapted to the need of the patients. The posology varies with the age, but there are products for all age groups from infant on. Bromhexine is a well established and well tolerated product in its indication.
Sometimes it is replaced by its metabolite ambroxol, as in Mucosolvan or Mucoangin.
^ Morton, Ian; Hall, Judith (1999). Concise Dictionary of Pharmacological Agents. Springer. p. 55. ISBN 0751404993. http://books.google.com/books?id=mqaOMOtk61IC&pg=PA55. Retrieved 2009-06-03.