Clinical application of expectorant therapy in chronic inflammatory airway diseases (Review)

April 2014
Experimental & Therapeutic Medicine;2014, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p763
Academic Journal
Airway mucus hypersecretion is a significant clinical and pathological feature of chronic inflammatory airway diseases. Its clinical presentations include recurrent coughing and phlegm. Airway mucus is closely associated with the occurrence, development and prognosis of chronic inflammatory airway diseases and critically affects the lung function, quality of life, hospitalization rate and mortality of patients with chronic inflammatory airway diseases. Therefore, expectorant therapies targeting the potential mechanisms of mucus hypersecretion have been the focus of numerous studies. Conventional expectorants are mainly mucoactive medicines, including nausea-stimulating expectorants, mucolytics, mucokinetics, and proteases and nucleases. In addition, certain traditional Chinese herbal medicines and non-mucoactive agents, including muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists, corticosteroids, leukotriene receptor antagonists and macrolide antibiotics, have also shown expectorant effects. Several novel medicines for expectorant therapy have emerged, including cholesterol-lowering statins, epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors, stanozolol, surfactants, flavonoids, tachykinin receptor antagonists, protease inhibitors, cytokine antagonists and purinergic agonists. With the increasing number of multidisciplinary studies, the effectiveness of expectorant therapy for the treatment of chronic inflammatory airway diseases has been confirmed. Therefore, the development of novel expectorants and the standardization of expectorant therapy are the direction and focus of future studies, thus benefiting patients who have a chronic inflammatory airway disease.


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