Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cold meds offer little or no relief

From the Globe and Mail:
Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines have recently come under fire as risky - even potentially fatal - for children under the age of 2. Now, a review of existing research suggests there is little evidence that these medications even work for either children or adults.

"It's an important issue in relation to family medicine," says review co-author Thomas Fahey, a professor of general practice at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland medical school. "Lots of people come to their doctor, either with a cough themselves or more often with their child. And they often resort to taking over-the-counter remedies."

With a dearth of large-scale, definitive studies on the subject, Dr. Fahey and his team examined the most current research available. They looked at 17 studies involving a total of 2,876 adults and eight studies involving 616 children conducted in the United States, Britain, Europe, India, South Africa and Thailand. The studies compared various remedies, such as cough syrups, antihistamines and decongestants, with placebos. ...more

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