Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES:To determine whether over the counter cough medicines are effective for acute cough in adults. DESIGN:Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. DATA SOURCES:Search of the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group specialised register, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline, Embase, and the UK Department of Health National Research Register in all languages. INCLUDED STUDIES:All randomised controlled trials that compared oral over the counter cough preparations with placebo in adults with acute cough due to upper respiratory tract infection in ambulatory settings and that had cough symptoms as an outcome. RESULTS:15 trials involving 2166 participants met all the inclusion criteria. Antihistamines seemed to be no better than placebo. There was conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of antitussives, expectorants, antihistamine-decongestant combinations, and other drug combinations compared with placebo. CONCLUSION:Over the counter cough medicines for acute cough cannot be recommended because there is no good evidence for their effectiveness. Even when trials had significant results, the effect sizes were small and of doubtful clinical relevance. Because of the small number of trials in each category, the results have to be interpreted cautiously.

journal_name

BMJ

authors

Schroeder K,Fahey T

doi

10.1136/bmj.324.7333.329

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2002-02-09 00:00:00

pages

329-31

issue

7333

eissn

0959-8138

issn

1756-1833

journal_volume

324

pub_type

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