This is one of a series of articles written by eminent authorities for the purpose of extending information concerning the official medicines. The twenty-four articles in this series have been planned and developed through the cooperation of the U. S. Pharmacopeial Committee of Revision andThe Journal of the American Medical Association.—Ed.
An expectorant may be defined as a medicine which aids in the removal of mucus or exudate from the lungs, bronchi and trachea. This action may be accomplished by causing a more active secretion, or by making the sputum more liquid or less tenacious. Another means of removal of sputum would be to stimulate the act of coughing, but this is seldom necessary or wise except in unusual states of debility in which large accumulations of sputum may actually imperil the patient. Often such a method would result in an expenditure of precious energy, and if possibale aspiration should be employed instead.
BROWN CL. THE USE OF EXPECTORANTS. JAMA. 1937;109(4):268–271. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780300005010
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