Journal of Intensive and Critical Care Open Access

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More than Expectorant: New Scientific Data on Ambroxol in the Context of the Treatment of Bronchopulmonary Diseases

Manuel Plomer, Justus de Zeeuw

Background:Ambroxol has been established for decades in the treatment of acute and chronic respiratory diseases. A reassessment of the benefit-risk was conducted recently. Objective: What new scientific data, relevant for the treatment of bronchopulmonary diseases, were published in the last decade? Method: Systematic literature search via with the search term “ambroxol”, covering the publication period from 2006 to 2015. Nonrelevant publications were excluded manually. Results: 64 relevant publications could be identified covering both, clinical and preclinical research. Conclusion: The traditional indication of ambroxol as an expectorant is confirmed but new results revealed a better understanding of the various mechanisms of action of ambroxol and the benefits for special patient populations. The available data suggest the use of ambroxol as an adjuvant in anti-infective therapy, particularly in case of infections with biofilm-producing pathogens. Lungprotective properties are discussed in both infants and severely ill adult patients. First results in rare diseases, such as lysosomal storage disorders, show a potential benefit of ambroxol. However, final evidence for the clinical relevance in this special field has yet to be provided.