Tuesday, January 10, 2006

DC OTC Cough Remedies?

From USA Today:

If your biggest decision about how to treat a cough is whether to take cherry- or grape-flavored syrup, you might find this a little hard to swallow: The American College of Chest Physicians is advising people who have colds not to waste their money on over-the-counter (OTC) cough syrups or drops, either for themselves or for their children.

Of the estimated 829 million visits to doctors' offices each year in the USA, nearly 30 million are for coughs, the doctors' group says.
The new advice, part of the most comprehensive guidelines yet on diagnosing and treating coughs, appears in this month's issue of the journal Chest. The chest doctors, who reviewed scores of studies dating back decades, conclude that there is no scientific evidence that suppressants, such as dextromethorphan, or expectorants, drugs such as guaifenesin that thin out mucus, relieve coughs that are the result of colds.

"Cough is so common, and there are medicines that actually work," says guidelines committee chair Richard Irwin, professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. If you feel you need to take something, he says, "take something that has been shown to be helpful."


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