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Millions of people use over-the-counter (OTC) cough medications every year, but a new review has shown that they may not be effective.
After reviewing 25 studies of both children and adults, the researchers found that some OTC cough medicines appeared to provide benefit, while others did not. They concluded that there is no good evidence for or against their use.
One concerning point revealed in the study was that six out of the nine studies supported by the drug industry had positive results for the medications. However, out of the 16 studies that had no conflicts of interest, only three showed positive results.
In August 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised parents not to give cough and cold remedies to children under 2, and a panel of federal health advisors later said that children under 6 should not receive the medications either.
Science Daily January 23, 2008
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue 1