Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Cough Syrups: The PLACEBO effect

In case you are wondering about the title; a Placebo is a medicine that has no active ingredient, but is prescribed by doctors to encourage the patient's expectation to get well.
Also it also plays an important role in drug trials to find out if a particular medicine is more effective/ has more side-effects than if no medicine was given.
As pediatricians most of us are aware that the innumerable cough syrups available in the market are not very effective in reducing children's cough. In the July issue of 'Pediatrics' Medical Journal, an interesting study has shown that two of the most commonly used medicines in cough mixtures, namely dextromethorphan & diphenhydramine, are no better than sugar syrups (placebo, right!) in treating cough caused by common cold.
So what should a parent do?
Confirm with a child specialist that your child has an upper respiratory infection; try using home made "daadi maa ke nuskhe" (grandmother's recipes) like Ginger & honey (adrak, shahad) based concoctions, or try hareera (traditional cough mixture).
Common Cough tips:
Avoid ice, extremely cold drinks;
Try to rest the throat by not shouting;
Warm saline gargles if possible,
Saline nasal drops;
Plenty of fluids to maintain hydration
Humidification of air;
Avoid dust & smoke,
No antibiotics without the pediatricians consent, and try not to 'pressurize' him into writing an antibiotic prescription ! :-)
What is the best way to heal a cough?
Give it TIME to heal. In case it does not go within a week reconsult the doctor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cough cough go away,
come back another day!
I need to go looking for my grandmother's recipe book now!