Cough syrup no sure cure, say scientists

February 09, 2002

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LONDON, Feb 8: People may be wasting their money buying over-the-counter cough medicines because there is little evidence they will cure that tickle, researchers said on Friday.

Scientists at the University of Bristol, who reviewed the results of 15 trials of cough remedies, said they were either comparable or no better than a placebo, or dummy medicine.

“There is little evidence for or against the effectiveness of over-the-counter cough medicines,” Knut Schroeder wrote in the British Medical Journal.

Schroeder and his colleague Tom Fahey studied trials, involving more than 2,000 people, of popular cough medicines.

“It remains unclear whether over-the-counter cough preparations are helpful in acute cough. We therefore cannot yet recommend these medicines as first-line treatment for coughs associated with upper respiratory tract infection,” Schroeder said.—Reuters