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Antihistamines and the common cold. A review and critique of the literature.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine if antihistamines provided clinically significant relief from the symptoms of the common cold.

METHODS

Structured literature review following standardized guidelines of primary studies published after 1975.

MEASUREMENTS

Improvements in symptom scores for total symptoms and nasal symptoms over the first three days of a common cold.

RESULTS

Three of five studies reporting on sneezing found a statistically significant improvement in the antihistamine group; similarly, three of seven studies reporting on nasal discharge found a statistically significant improvement with therapy. No study reported improvement in total symptom score at the level of p < .05. The validity of these findings was weakened by several flaws in the literature such as inattention to clinical significance and functional impact, inappropriate use of statistical tests, and poorly described methodology. The clinical significance of these improvements was not demonstrated.

CONCLUSIONS

The primary literature offers little support for the use of antihistamines in the common cold.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Pharmacy, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York 10467, USA.

    Source

    MeSH

    Adult
    Child
    Common Cold
    Depression, Chemical
    Histamine H1 Antagonists
    Humans
    Nasal Mucosa
    Sneezing

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    8744883

    Citation

    Luks, D, and M R. Anderson. "Antihistamines and the Common Cold. a Review and Critique of the Literature." Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 11, no. 4, 1996, pp. 240-4.
    Luks D, Anderson MR. Antihistamines and the common cold. A review and critique of the literature. J Gen Intern Med. 1996;11(4):240-4.
    Luks, D., & Anderson, M. R. (1996). Antihistamines and the common cold. A review and critique of the literature. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 11(4), pp. 240-4.
    Luks D, Anderson MR. Antihistamines and the Common Cold. a Review and Critique of the Literature. J Gen Intern Med. 1996;11(4):240-4. PubMed PMID: 8744883.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Antihistamines and the common cold. A review and critique of the literature. AU - Luks,D, AU - Anderson,M R, PY - 1996/4/1/pubmed PY - 1996/4/1/medline PY - 1996/4/1/entrez SP - 240 EP - 4 JF - Journal of general internal medicine JO - J Gen Intern Med VL - 11 IS - 4 N2 - OBJECTIVE: To determine if antihistamines provided clinically significant relief from the symptoms of the common cold. METHODS: Structured literature review following standardized guidelines of primary studies published after 1975. MEASUREMENTS: Improvements in symptom scores for total symptoms and nasal symptoms over the first three days of a common cold. RESULTS: Three of five studies reporting on sneezing found a statistically significant improvement in the antihistamine group; similarly, three of seven studies reporting on nasal discharge found a statistically significant improvement with therapy. No study reported improvement in total symptom score at the level of p < .05. The validity of these findings was weakened by several flaws in the literature such as inattention to clinical significance and functional impact, inappropriate use of statistical tests, and poorly described methodology. The clinical significance of these improvements was not demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: The primary literature offers little support for the use of antihistamines in the common cold. SN - 0884-8734 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/8744883/full_citation L2 - http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&amp;PAGE=linkout&amp;SEARCH=8744883.ui DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -