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Ambroxol is a secretolytic agent used in the treatment of respiratory diseases associated with viscid or excessive mucus. It is the active ingredient of Mucosolvan, Mucobrox, Lasolvan, Mucoangin, Surbronc and Lysopain. The substance is a mucoactive drug with several properties including secretolytic and secretomotoric actions that restore the physiological clearance mechanisms of the respiratory tract, which play an important role in the body’s natural defence mechanisms. It stimulates synthesis and release of surfactant by type II pneumocytes. Surfactant acts as an anti-glue factor by reducing the adhesion of mucus to the bronchial wall, in improving its transport and in providing protection against infection and irritating agents.
Ambroxol is indicated as "secretolytic therapy in bronchopulmonary diseases associated with abnormal mucus secretion and impaired mucus transport. It promotes mucus clearance, facilitates expectoration and eases productive cough, allowing patients to breathe freely and deeply".
There are many different formulations developed since the first marketing authorisation in 1978. Ambroxol is available as syrup, tablets, pastilles, dry powder sachets, inhalation solution, drops and ampules as well as effervescent tablets.
Ambroxol also provides pain relief in acute sore throat. Pain in sore throat is the hallmark of acute pharyngitis. Sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection. The infection is self limited and the patient recovers normally after a few days. What is most bothering for the patient is the continuous pain in the throat maximized when the patient is swallowing. The main goal of treatment is thus to reduce pain. The main property of Ambroxol for treating sore throat is the local anaesthetic effect, described first in the late 1970s, but explained and confirmed in more recent work.
Ambroxol is a very potent inhibitor of the neuronal Na+ channels. This property led to the development of a lozenge containing 20 mg of ambroxol. Many state-of-the-art clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Ambroxol in relieving pain in acute sore throat, with a fast onset of action and a long duration of effect of at least 3 hours. Additional anti-inflammatory properties of Ambroxol are of clinical relevance since treatment lead to a marked reduction of redness of the patient’s sore throat.
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- Malerba M, Ragnoli B. (Aug 2008), "Ambroxol in the 21st century: pharmacological and clinical update.", Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 4 (8): 1119–29, doi:10.1517/17425255.4.8.1119, PMID 18680446
- de Mey C. et al. (2008), "Efficacy and safety of ambroxol lozenges in the treatment of acute uncomplicated sore throat.", Arzneimittelforschung 58 (11): 557–68, doi:10.1055/s-0031-1296557, PMID 19137906
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