Does Mucinex DM Work For Sinus Congestion?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Mucinex DM will be effective for treating sinus congestion.


is Mucinex DM effective for sinus congestion?

Asked by Sandy On Jun 28, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 29, 2018

Mucinex DM likely isn't your best option for treating sinus congestion. Mucinex DM contains the following two active ingredients:

  • Guaifenesin
  • Dextromethorphan

Guaifenesin is an expectorant, which helps to thin and loosen mucus, easing expectoration. Guafenesin is most commonly used for chest congestion and for thick mucus that is hard to clear from the airways.

Dextromethorphan is an anti-tussive, used to treat a dry, unproductive cough.

A better option for sinus congestion and pressure would be to use a decongestant, either Sufafed (pseudoephedrine) or Sudafed PE (phenylephrine). These are decongestants, which will relieve sinus pressure and sinus congestion. Specifically, decongestants produce vasoconstriction, which shrinks swollen nasal mucous membranes, reduces excess blood in the tissues, increases drainage of sinus secretions and decreases nasal airway obstruction.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Office: 716-389-3076

About Dextromethorphan

Dextromethorphan is an over the counter cough medication and a common ingredient in various cough, cold and flu products. It is chemically related to opioid medications but does not exhibit their typical characteristics such as analgesia and respiratory depression. Dextromethorphan is useful in treating chronic, nonproductive cough, but it has no expectorant activity, meaning it will not thin mucus secretions. Dextromethorphan is rapidly absorbed from the GI tract after taking by mouth and will begin working within 15—30 minutes. The typical duration of action is 5 to 6 hours.

About Mucinex (Guaifenesin)

Guaifenesin is an oral expectorant, which is commonly used to treat cough due to colds and minor upper respiratory infections. It is commonly classified as a mucolytic, working to loosen and thin phlegm and bronchial secretions to ease expectoration. By reducing the viscosity (i.e. thickness) and adhesiveness of secretions, guaifenesin increases the efficacy of the mucociliary mechanism in removing accumulated secretions from the upper and lower airway. This can help to change a dry, unproductive cough to one that is more productive and less frequent.

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