Treating cough and cold: Guidance for caregivers of children and youth
RD Goldman | Canadian Pediatric Society | Drug Therapy and Hazardous Substances Committee
Despite the widespread use of over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medications (CCMs), the effectiveness of most CCMs has not been proven in children. A meta-analysis summarizing trials using OTC CCMs for viral-induced cough found no evidence for or against the use of OTC medicines in both paediatric and adult populations when cough frequency and severity, as well as physician assessments, were compared. Furthermore, North American data suggest that OTC CCMs may be associated with medication errors and adverse events, resulting in visits to emergency departments and even leading to death. The present article provides information on current evidence for cough and cold therapies, including fluid intake, humidified air, antihistamines, echinacea, zinc, honey and vitamin C, for caregivers of children and youth.