Study program & # 39; s: medicines for cough are as good as worthless

Can you save the cough syrup?

The clear efficacy of anticoagulants has not been demonstrated in six clinical trials. Although there are many different drugs on the market that are thought to help cough, such as codeine, salbutamol and gelatin, scientists from more than 700 subjects in a recent analysis discovered that no tested agent has any clear benefit for the cure. brings.

The research team around Dr. Lars G. Hemkens of the University of Basel analyzed six clinical studies involving a total of 724 patients with subacute cough, a cough that usually lasts 3 to 8 weeks and in most cases heals itself. Against such cough, the cough medications are often prescribed, the benefits of which are undetectable, as the researchers found. The study results have recently been published in the journal "British Journal of General Practice".

Many people have previously taken a cough medicine, convinced that it supports the healing process. Researchers at the University of Basel were unable to prove the curative effects of common cough suppressants. (Image: Markus Mainka /

No tested cough medicine was convincing

"None of the assessed treatments turned out to offer significant benefits in cessation of subacute cough," the researchers said in a press release about the study results. Common medications and natural remedies that are often prescribed for cough in Europe and North America have been tested. The effectiveness of remedies from traditional Chinese medicine has not been studied.

Devastating judgment

Seven drugs were screened by the Basel research team, including montelukast, salbutamol plus, ipratropium bromide, gelatin, fluticasone propionate, budesonide, opioids and codeine. The shocking verdict: "The results show that none of the treatments clearly helped to cure the cough." The cough symptoms disappeared with and without treatment for all participants. Two studies indicate a small benefit of the drugs compared to placebo. Otherwise, according to the researchers, the funds are useless.

Coughing is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits

The team around Dr. Lars G. Hemkens wants to inform those affected and the general public. "Coughing is one of the most common reasons for a doctor's visit," write the experts at the University of Basel. In addition to a general impairment of quality of life, coughing is often associated with the fear of suffering from a serious disease such as cancer. According to the researchers, many patients would need a treatment medication, although many doctors do not recommend it.

Study leader is against cough medicine

"We do not currently see any treatment based on our research that offers clear benefits for patients," Dr. Hemkens the study results. However, due to certain methodological limitations in the studies used, generalizability would not be possible for all cough conditions.

Four billion dollars in sales

As reported by the Basel researchers, sales for cough medicines worldwide amounted to four billion dollars. At the moment there would be a real over treatment for coughing. The experts from the University of Basel suggest that doctors should take the time to better inform patients about coughing to reduce excessive cough medication. Perhaps you should instead rely on natural home remedies for coughs instead. (Vb)