Home Pharmacy (cont.)
OTC cold medication and other cold preparations are not recommended for
children under the age of 2, and are not effective for children younger than 6
years of age according the American Academy of Pediatrics. Symptomatic
treatment with humidified air and cough drops may be most effective, although
cough drops can be a choking hazard in young children.
OTC cough preparations are not always recommended for adults, and
may not work well according to some studies. However, many people are
convinced that cough preparations are helpful, so listed below are some of the
most widely used preparations. Menthol is the active ingredient in many cough
drops. Their effect is temporary and wears off when the cough drop has
- Dextromethorphan (Delysm,
Pedicare, Robitussin, Scot-Tussin, St. Joseph, Theraflu, Triaminic, Vicks
44, and many others) is an over-the-counter product used to control cough. It
is usually found as one of many ingredients in cough syrups and cold medications
(those that have the DM in their names such as Robitussin DM or store brands).
Dextromethorphan should not be taken by individuals who are taking CNS
depressive drugs, opiates, and other psychoactive drugs, or children under 4
years of age.
- Guaifenesin (Robitussin, Mucinex among many others) is an
expectorant (it loosens mucus in the bronchi or large breathing tubes). It may
initially cause more coughing to remove the mucus but will then decrease the
cough intensity and frequency as the mucus is cleared out. Adequate hydration will
augment the effect of guaifenesin.
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