NORTHBROOK, Ill., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Chest experts say over-the-counter cough syrup doesn't work.
The American College of Chest Physicians says most over-the-counter cough expectorants or suppressants do not work to treat the underlying cause of the cough.
New treatment guidelines by the group say adults with acute cough or upper airway cough syndrome -- previously named postnasal drip syndrome -- should be treated with an antihistamine and a decongestant.
"There is no clinical evidence that over-the-counter cough expectorants or suppressants actually relieve cough," said Richard S. Irwin, M.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "There is considerable evidence that older type antihistamines help to reduce cough, so, unless there are contraindications to using these medicines, why not take something that has been proven to work?"
The new guidelines recommend against the use of over-the-counter cough and cold medications for children age 14 years and younger.
"Cough is very common in children. However, cough and cold medicines are not useful in children and can actually be harmful," said Irwin. "In most cases, a cough that is unrelated to chronic lung conditions, environmental influences, or other specific factors, will resolve on its own."