How Does Mannitol Inhalation Work?

Reviewed on 12/29/2021

How does mannitol inhalation work?

Inhaled mannitol is used for thinning and clearing mucus that becomes thick and adheres to the bronchial passage in people with pulmonary conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Mannitol inhalation is also used for diagnostic purposes to assess airway sensitivity to stimuli.

The precise mechanism by which mannitol thins the mucus is not clear. Mannitol is an osmotic agent and it is thought to work by drawing water from the lung cells into the airway, which rehydrates the mucus, loosens it, and facilitates its clearance from the lungs.

How is mannitol inhalation used?

Inhaled mannitol is a dry powder that comes in capsules that are broken open and orally inhaled using an inhaler device. Mannitol inhalation is approved by FDA for:

  • Assessment of bronchial hyper responsiveness in patients who do not have clinically apparent asthma
  • As add-on maintenance therapy to improve pulmonary function in adults with cystic fibrosis.

What are side effects of mannitol inhalation?

Side effects of mannitol inhalation may include the following:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some mannitol inhalation drugs?

Generic and brand names of mannitol inhalation drugs include:


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