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Study: Cough Medicine Ineffective For Both Children AND Adults

Cough Medicine For Adults Only…Or Not 

Recently I wrote about how ineffective cough and cold medications were for children, especially for those children ages two and younger.  Now, I’m here to tell you just how ineffective they are for us adults as well.

The results for the review of cough medicines were mixed at best (i.e. some showed some effectiveness, some showed zero effectiveness) but as the report indicates, mixed results means conflicting evidence, and conflicting evidence is evidence that disagrees rather than substantiates overall effectiveness.

Published in the latest issue of the medical review journal The Cochrane Library, a journal that reviews and analyzes medical research, it examined several studies that looked into the effectiveness of over-the-counter cough syrups like Robitussin and pediatric medicines like Triaminicol and Dacol.  The review also examined several other medicines that combined cough suppressants with antihistamines.  In all, the review examined 25 studies of nearly 2,900 adults and 616 children.

As aforementioned, their results were anything but supportive in terms of determining their effectiveness.  In fact, their effectiveness was so spotty, the researchers could not make any broad statistical conclusions.  For example, two of the studies looked at medicines that combine antihistamines and cough suppressants.  One was determined to be effective, the other wasn’t.  Other studies that compared placebos to antihistamines found no difference in their effectiveness relative to each other.  The same was true when reviewing cold medicines for children.

There is some good news, though.  Unlike the adverse side-effects reported regarding children and cold medicines, there does not appear to be any adverse side-effects of these medicines on adults’ health.  In other words, other than the fact that they don’t seem to have any healing powers in the cough and cold realm—and can be downright dangerous for children under the age of 2—they’d make a great addition to your medicine cabinet.  It makes you wonder how these cough and cold medicines are still in business, doesn’t it?

So, what can you do to get rid of that cold quickly?  Sorry to say, but there’s no quick-fix solution.  In fact, it may be a matter of doing the things your mom always told you to do when you got sick:  lots of rest, lots of fluids.  However, there are certainly things you can do to significantly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Read my article on Potent Cold-Crushing Remedies for the Common Cold. But as one of the lead researchers of the study said in an interview with Science Daily, coughing is not necessarily a bad thing.  Sure it’s annoying and something of a nuisance, but it’s the body’s way of shedding viruses. 

Just be sure to cover your mouth when you do.

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  4. Artificial Food Additives Increase Hyperactivity Risk in Children, Study Finds
  5. Zinc Supplementation Reduces Death Risk in Children, Study Finds

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Comment from iliao93
Time July 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

When I was a very little girl we had a neighbor who made cough medicine for me that worked wonders.
I don’t know the exact recipe but the ingredients were honey, puree of fresh figs and fresh squeezed lemon juice!
It not only quieted my cough but it was like a spoonful of dessert.

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