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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

You've got a cough, honey?

A recent study comparing the effectiveness of honey vs dextromethorphan in treating children's nocturnal coughs found that "parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child's nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection. Honey may be a preferable treatment for the cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection".

This is a follow up to research done by the same team in 2004, which found that neither dextromethorphan nor diphenhydramine were effective compared to a placebo.

In 2005 a clinical trial of diphenhydramine was halted early because of the drug's ineffectiveness.

The Guardian quotes Sheila Kelly, of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain:

"Having access to safe and effective paediatric cough and cold remedies is essential. Those on the UK market have demonstrated their efficacy through decades of use and their acceptance by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency means parents can continue to rely on these over-the-counter cough and cold remedies."

I think that means, roughly translated, that they reserve the right to peddle their patent medicines to a gullible public.

The regulators would, of course, be more concerned with the dangers of these drugs than their efficacy. I doubt that the danger to a child caused by parents wasting money on quack medicines instead of effective nutrition counts as one of their criteria.

A 2004 study found that theobromine, one of the active ingredients of chocolate, is an effective cough-suppressant.

So, parents, next time your child has a cough, why not treat them (in more ways than one) with chocolate and honey?

Footnote, April 2008

Children's cough mixtures are not just ineffective, they are dangerous.

There have been five deaths in children under two since 1981 where cough and cold medicines may have been a factor, according to the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which has ordered six products to be permanently removed from sale for children aged under two.

Footnote, August 2012

Honey can ease nighttime coughing in young kids. "researchers found that those children who received honey fared better than those who consumed the non-honey extract"

Posted by Phil at 1:39 PM
Edited on: Tuesday, August 07, 2012 11:49 PM
Categories: Comment, Waffle