When It Comes to a Cough, Reach For the Cough Drops – Not Syrups


It may be tempting to sift through the medicine cabinet as you sniffle and cough your way through the winter, but new medical evidence suggests cough medicines aren’t likely to ward off persistent symptoms. At best, the American Chemical Society says people can expect a good night’s sleep prompted by the dextromethorphan (DXM) contained within them.

However, all’s not lost.

Cough drops, boiled sweets, honey, and lemon are all said to qualm the symptoms associated with a cough, and although a 2014 Cochrane Review says there is ‘no good evidence for or against’ the use of over-the-counter medicines, active ingredients such as guaifenesin (found within Benylin Mucus Cough Plus Decongestant Syrup) are said to loosen mucus found in the chest.

John Smith, an executive of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, told The Daily Mail that it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of cough medicines due to the variety of coughs that are out there. Additionally, he notes it’s important to remember that medicines cannot cure a cough.

“If used in accordance with the instructions … then cough medicines are a safe way to help relieve the symptoms of a cough.”

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