New Delhi: Administering cough syrups tochildren with acute cough might be a fairly common practice inevery household, but the effect of medicinal administrationmight be little more than placebo, a study says. Published in the latest edition of the Indian PediatricsJournal, the study which analyses the clinical outcome ofcough syrups on children in terms of symptom relief, concludedthat there was no difference between various pharmacologicalagents compared to placebo or non-medicated administrations. Moreover, the study says cough syrups can also have therisk of adverse effects, suggesting their use should be"discouraged".
"In addition, sleep induced by cough syrups may bemistakenly attributed as a therapeutic rather than sideeffect, in some cases," the study says. Besides, another trial that was analysed in the study,showed that dextromethorphan, an anti-tussive drug which isone of the active ingredients in many over-the-counter coldand cough medicines, was "no better than placebo for thetreatment of cough". "There was no difference between various pharmacologicalagents compared to placebo or no treatment," the studyconcluded. While suggesting that the effect of cough syrups waslittle better than no treatment, the study also says that thefrequency and severity of adverse events reported with mostpharmacological preparations "disallows exploiting even theplacebo effect". The adverse events "range from insignificant andtransient clinical events to serious adverse events and evendeath in rare instances," it says. Bureau Report