(UNDATED) - A new study suggests that the main ingredient in Mucinex may not help you get rid of the gunk in your chest after all.
Research from Virginia Commonwealth University studied 295 adults with a cold or cough. Half were given Mucinex, which contains guaifenesin, also the main ingredient in Robutussin and many other medicines for chest congestion, while half were given a placebo.
The study showed that Mucinex didn't help people cough up mucus any better than the placebo.
"At the end of the study, it mentions that the placebo effect is as high as 85-percent in studies on cough therapy," said Ken Menser, a pharmacist with St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.
Even though the study focused on whether Mucinex's ingredient gets rid of mucus, as their commercials with the destruction of the animated mucus characters suggests, the results doesn't necessarily mean the drug is worthless. Other studies have shown guaifenesin's effectiveness against mucus, hence its widespread use in over-the-counter medicines.
Menser says this study shows that it may not, however, be as effective in those with cases of acute bronchitis.
"But in those who have chronic bronchitis or a chronic coughing condition, it does seem to have a good effect," said Menser.
The makers of Mucinex, Reckitt Benckiser Group, paid for the study, which was published in the May issue of the journal Respiratory Care.
"I don't think they are trying to shoot themselves in the foot here. I think they are trying to find out what the appropriate patient population is for this product," Menser said.
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