Codeine, which is used extensively in cough syrups, is actually no better than placebo or dummy drugs, according to a new study. The drug seems to deal effectively with suppressing cough, but actually does not treat it.
Manchester University researchers conducted a study on 24 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The details of the study will be published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The researchers found that patients who were given codeine coughed only a little less than those on a placebo.
"From a statistical standpoint there was really no difference between codeine and the placebo - despite the fact that the dose of codeine used far exceeds that in over-the-counter cough remedies," commented lead researcher Dr Jaclyn Smith.
She added that an effective treatment for cough is currently unavailable and if doctors continue to use codeine, then more research needs to be done to improve its effectiveness.