What does Bronkaid do?

Published May 11th, 2020 by Bridget Reed
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera
Updated Date: Jun 21st, 2022

Approximately one in every thirteen people, or about 25 million Americans, suffer from asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rates of asthma have been on the rise since the 1980s across all age, race, and gender groups, and today, about 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children in the United States suffer from asthma.

About 11.4 million people had one or more asthma episodes or attacks in 2017, and asthma is the leading chronic disease in children.

Asthma symptoms can range from mild to serious and life-threatening; some people are able to manage their symptoms by avoiding triggers and taking over-the-counter medications that provide relief from mild symptoms, while others rely on inhalers to control their symptoms.

Patients with intermittent asthma may use medications like Bronkaid to control their symptoms. 

What Is Bronkaid?

Bronkaid is a dual-action medication that is intended to treat symptoms of intermittent asthma; the two components of Bronkaid are ephedrine sulfate and guaifenesin.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant that loosens and thins congestion in your chest and throat, while ephedrine sulfate is a decongestant that helps by allowing easier breathing.

Bronkaid is sold at drug stores like CVS and Walgreens as well as big-box stores like Walmart and Target, but it is not available over-the-counter (OTC) in the traditional sense.

Bronkaid must be purchased directly from the pharmacy counter, although it does not require a prescription in most states.  

What Does Bronkaid Do?

Bronkaid provides temporary asthma relief and can help treat difficulty breathing and difficulty expelling mucus.

Wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and chest congestion are all symptoms of asthma that Bronkaid helps to treat, but the medication should only be used by patients that have been officially diagnosed with asthma by their doctor. 

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of air passageways, making it difficult to breathe.

Triggers of asthma commonly include exercise,  pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, and stress, but each person’s triggers are different.

One of the key components of managing asthma symptoms is identifying your individual triggers and avoiding them whenever possible. When an asthma episode or asthma attack occurs, symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. Asthma can be a life-threatening emergency when an asthma attack is severe.

The condition is normally diagnosed by a physical exam, lung function tests, and a chest or sinus x-ray. 

What Is Chest Congestion?

Chest congestion is a build-up of mucus in the lungs and airways. It occurs when the body produces too much mucus or when the mucus becomes too thick, dry, or dense to be coughed up.

We need mucus to protect, moisten, and defend our airways, and our bodies naturally produce the right amount under normal circumstances.

Mucous membranes line the mouth, nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs and keep out dust, allergens, bacteria, irritants, and viruses, helping to protect the body against infection.

Our bodies may produce too much mucus when exposed to allergens or airborne pollution because they are attempting to protect us from additional disease and irritation.

The triggers that may cause asthma attacks in some people, such as pollen, pollution, and smoke, can lead to increased production of mucus. 

How Does Bronkaid Work?

Bronkaid consists of two different components as active ingredients, ephedrine sulfate, and guaifenesin, which work together to temporarily relieve mild symptoms associated with intermittent asthma.

Expectorants like guaifenesin thin mucus in the lungs and chest, making it easier to clear mucus from the body. It is believed that guaifenesin causes a reflex stimulation in the bronchial glands, which results in a decrease in the thickness of bronchial mucus.

Bronchodilators and decongestants like ephedrine sulfate cause a narrowing of the blood vessels, which reduces asthma symptoms, allowing asthma sufferers to breathe more easily.

Scientists believe that bronchodilators work on specific receptors in the body to cause the bronchial smooth muscle to relax, which helps people to breathe more freely and provides relief from the chest tightness and wheezing associated with asthma. 

What Benefits Are Associated With Bronkaid?

The biggest benefit of using Bronkaid is being able to breathe more easily during an asthma attack, of course!

The medication helps relieve mild asthma symptoms and thins and loosens the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to breathe and expel the mucus.  

Another benefit of Bronkaid is that the medication is inexpensive and can be purchased at your local pharmacy and big box store in most states without a prescription, which means you won’t need to take a trip to a doctor’s office once your doctor has diagnosed you with asthma and recommended Bronkaid.  

What Dose of Bronkaid Should I Take?

Dosing instructions for Bronkaid are straightforward because the medication is only sold in one strength.

Each caplet includes 25 mg of ephedrine sulfate and 400 mg of guaifenesin, and Bronkaid can be purchased in packages of 24 and 60 caplets.

Adults and children 12 years of age and older should take one capsule every four hours, with no more than six capsules in 24 hours, or use as directed by a doctor.

Children under the age of 12 should not use Bronkaid unless directed by a doctor. Unless directed otherwise by a doctor, patients should not exceed the recommended dosing instructions for Bronkaid.

The medication can be taken with or without food, but it should not be used with food or beverages that contain caffeine. 

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Bronkaid?

The majority of side effects associated with Bronkaid are considered mild and usually do not require medical attention.

Side effects associated with Bronkaid are categorized as common and mild, infrequent and mild, rare and mild, and rare and potentially severe.

Common and generally mild side effects of Bronkaid include:

  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping

Infrequent and generally mild side effects of Bronkaid include:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Throat dryness
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Loss of skin color
  • Excessive sweating
  • Generalized weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Rare and generally mild side effects of Bronkaid include:

  • Anxious feelings
  • Temporary redness of face or neck
  • Irritation of the stomach or intestines

Rare and potentially serious side effects of Bronkaid are unlikely but have been known to occur. These include:

  • A stroke
  • A heart attack
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Paradoxical bronchospasm
  • Seizures
  • Mental problems

Make sure to stop the use of Bronkaid and seek medical help if your asthma symptoms get worse, you have difficulty sleeping, have tremors, nervousness, or seizure, experience a rapid heartbeat, or you have a cough with phlegm lasting longer than seven days, comes back, or occurs in conjunction with a fever, rash, persistent headache or any allergic reactions.

What Risks Are Associated with Taking Bronkaid?

Bronkaid is generally considered a safe medication for adults and children over the age of 12, but there are some risks associated with its use.

Asthma can be a life-threatening condition when attacks are severe, so patients should seek medical attention if they do not experience relief within 60 minutes of taking Bronkaid, start experiencing worse symptoms, need to take more than 6 capsules in 24 hours, take more than 4 capsules in 24 hours 3 or more days per week, or have 2 asthma attacks in a week.

This may be a sign that your asthma is getting worse. Patients who have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease should use caution when taking Bronkaid, as the medication can cause your blood pressure or heart rate to increase, which can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Patients who take the medication more frequently or in higher doses than recommended also have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Because Bronkaid can increase blood pressure and heart rate, do not take the medication while consuming food or beverages that contain caffeine or supplements that have a stimulant effect.

Is Bronkaid Safe for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers?

Bronkaid is classified as an FDA-designated Class C drug for pregnant women, meaning that the full effects of the medication on unborn babies have not been conclusively studied.

Therefore, the use of Bronkaid during pregnancy is recommended only when the benefit outweighs the risk.

While there is no existing evidence that shows an association between Bronkaid and birth defects, no controlled data on human pregnancy is currently available.

Due to the lack of data surrounding Bronkaid’s effect on unborn children, the manufacturer recommends that you get medical advice from your doctor before using the medication while pregnant.

Irritability and excessive crying have been observed in infants whose mothers have taken Bronkaid while breastfeeding, so it is recommended that breastfeeding mothers take Bronkaid only when the benefits outweigh the risks.

Who Should Not Take Bronkaid?

The following people should not take Bronkaid:

  • People taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or people who have used an MAOI drug within the past two weeks
  • People taking prescription drugs for asthma, obesity, weight control, depression, or other psychiatric conditions should speak to their doctor before taking Bronkaid.
  • People taking any medication that contains phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or caffeine 
  • Children under the age of 12. For this reason, keep Bronkaid out of the reach of children and contact the Poison Control Center in case of ingestion. 
  • People with a history of any of the following should talk to their doctors about their medical history before taking Bronkaid
    • Previously hospitalized for asthma
    • Narrow angle glaucoma
    • Psychiatric or emotional condition
    • Trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland
    • Persistent or chronic cough associated with smoking, asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema
    • Cough combined with excessive mucous heart disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Thyroid disease
    • Seizures

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