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Home Pharmacy (cont.)

Cough

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 dissolved.

  • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014

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