October 4, 2007
"But Mommy, I Like the Placebo Effect!" - Possible Changes for Pediatric Cough Syrup & Cold Medicines
NPR's Morning Edition had an interesting story today about the developing research relating to cough and cold treatments for children. Most were approved a long time ago, and it turns out the evidence for efficacy is, well, not particularly extensive, though there's also not a lot of danger when used as directed.
"I don't believe that these medications, in the recommended doses … are dangerous," says Dr. Ian Paul, a pediatrician at Penn State College of Medicine. "But I don't believe they work."
* * *
[H]e and a group of colleagues conducted their own, small study. They recruited the parents of 100 sick children and had them administer a single, bedtime dose of medicine. Some children got the real thing, a combination of dextromethorphan, a standard cough suppressant, along with the antihistamine Benadryl. Other children, unbeknownst to them and their parents, were given a placebo syrup.
"Parents found there was no difference between the two medicines or the placebo in how much their child coughed or how well they slept," Paul says.
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