An approach to recommending cough mixtures in the pharmacy
When patients present in the pharmacy with coughs, usually they are caused by a viral upper respiratory tract infection, such as the common cold. Such coughs are self-limiting and improve within a few days with or without treatment. Nonetheless, an acute cough can interfere with patients’ daily activities and disrupt their sleep. Pharmacists are often asked to recommend a suitable product to relieve the cough. While the evidence to support that cough medicines are effective is not strong, many patients report that they find them useful. This article provides a brief review on the components and appropriate selection of over-the-counter cough remedies for adults and children with acute coughs that are caused by a viral upper respiratory tract infection. The article takes into account recent concerns about the safety of cough remedies in children.