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Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults.
BMJ 2002; 324(7333):329-31BMJ

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.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Division of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, Bristol BS6 6JL. k.schroeder@bristol.ac.ukNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

11834560

Citation

Schroeder, Knut, and Tom Fahey. "Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials of Over the Counter Cough Medicines for Acute Cough in Adults." BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), vol. 324, no. 7333, 2002, pp. 329-31.
Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ. 2002;324(7333):329-31.
Schroeder, K., & Fahey, T. (2002). Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 324(7333), pp. 329-31.
Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials of Over the Counter Cough Medicines for Acute Cough in Adults. BMJ. 2002 Feb 9;324(7333):329-31. PubMed PMID: 11834560.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. AU - Schroeder,Knut, AU - Fahey,Tom, PY - 2002/2/9/pubmed PY - 2002/3/1/medline PY - 2002/2/9/entrez SP - 329 EP - 31 JF - BMJ (Clinical research ed.) JO - BMJ VL - 324 IS - 7333 N2 - 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. SN - 1756-1833 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/11834560/Systematic_review_of_randomised_controlled_trials_of_over_the_counter_cough_medicines_for_acute_cough_in_adults_ L2 - http://www.bmj.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=11834560 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -