Over-the-counter cough syrup may not be as effective as it is claimed to be. Therefore purchase of cough syrup from the American Medicine cabinet is viewed as nothing more than a waste of money according to a group of national doctors.
Based on the above finding, several recommendations have been put across for the effective treatment of coughs by the American College of Chest Physicians. According to the new guideline, published in the journal Chest, it is recommended that the general public resort to the conventional, cost-effective anti-histamines for treatment of cough associated with infection of the upper respiratory tract. Older-generation antihistamines can effectively manage nasal drip and running nose.
Although cough syrups may provide a moderate amount of relief, they are ineffective in treating the underlying cause, in the opinion of Dr. Michael Alberts, a leading pulmonologist. Another suggestion is to survive the episode and wait for it to resolve on its own.
Alarmingly, Americans have been found to purchase over-the -counter medication for cold worth $2.9 billion. About $270 million is spent on cough syrup alone. In addition another $400 million is spent on prescription of medicines for cold, based on study conducted in 2003.
A cough syrup formulation that contains a combination of dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) and guaifenesin (expectorant) is no more effective than sugar water. Similar results have been obtained from different studies conducted in different parts of the world.