Entries in Cough Medication (4)


The Placebo Effect: Cough and Other Conditions It Improves

Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- It may not take much to tame a nagging cough.  Merely believing that a certain treatment will suppress a cough may do the trick, according to new Australian research.

The Daily Mail reported that people in a very small Australian study who received a placebo instead of a drug had less of an urge to cough after inhaling capsaicin, an ingredient found in chili peppers, than people who received no treatment at all.

Researchers told participants that they were going to inhale either lidocaine, a common anesthetic, to minimize the urge to cough, or a gas, which they were told would not work. In actuality, however, all study participants received the ineffective gas.

The finding that people who thought they received the lidocaine had 45 percent less of an urge to cough than those who knew they were receiving an ineffective treatment surprised researchers, who have long known about the so-called placebo effect, but didn't expect it to be that strong.

"It's difficult to know why that is that cough responds so well to placebo," lead author Stuart Mazzone told the newspaper. Placebos are more effective for coughing than for other conditions, including pain, he said.

"As a physician, the more the placebo effect works, the better," said Dr. Mark Stacy, vice dean for clinical research at Duke University Medical Center. "The more benefit a patient would have, the better."

Placebos seem to bring about a complex response in the brain, said Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

"It's probably a combination of therapeutic reliance, hope and expectation, and when the brain perceives them, it is able to change activity in circuits relevant to the condition," he said.

Despite the positive effects research has uncovered, it is unethical for doctors to prescribe placebos without informing patients they're doing it.

And the placebo effect doesn't just work on coughs, experts say. Studies suggest that placebos also bring about positive effects in the conditions on the next few pages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5-Year-Old Colorado Girl Dies of Cough Medicine Overdose

Courtesy Brown Family(DURANGO, Colo.) -- A Colorado girl is dead after taking a lethal combination of two common cold and allergy medicines. Colorado authorities are now investigating her grandmother, who was looking after the 5-year-old.

Kimber Michelle Brown was spending the night with her 59-year-old grandmother, Linda Sheets, at the time of her death on Feb. 12.  Sheets was reportedly treating the girl for flu-like symptoms.

The coroner's report, which came out this week, ruled the overdose was accidental, caused by dextromethorphan, an ingredient commonly used in cough syrup.  Kimber's blood levels were two and a half times higher than the recommended dosage.  She also had higher than therapeutic levels of cetirizine, which is the main ingredient in the allergy medicine Zyrtec.

Kimber's parents, Raelyn Anderson-Brown and Mike Brown, live in Durango, Colo., which is about nine miles from Hermosa, where she died.

Investigators say Sheets, who is Anderson-Brown's mother, may not have measured the medicine properly, or the child may have also taken some herself.

Now, the Sixth Judicial District Attorney's Office is investigating whether criminal charges will be filed, according to the Durango Herald, although police have said so far there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

"I consider it a certified combination of drugs, with the dextromethorphan being the highest level," La Plata County Coroner Dr. Carol Huser told ABC News.

Combining the two depressants produced a greater toxicity than each drug would have caused alone, she said.

Blood levels were taken several hours after the child's death.  Those were the only drugs in the girl's system, except for some that the medic administered "to try to save her," said Huser.

The toxicology report showed that the little girl, who weighed only 46 pounds, had 96 nanograms per millilitre of dextromethorphan in her blood.  The upper limit for this drug in adults is 40 ng/ml.

Kimber also had 490 ng/ml of cetirizine in her system.  A normal dosage would be between 271 and 352 ng/ml.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Majority of Parents Still Give Young Children OTC Cough, Cold Medicine

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) - A new poll suggests that, despite research linking hundreds of deaths in young children to over-the-counter cough and cold medicine, a majority of parents still give it to their children, reports Consumer Affairs.

The study, by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, found that 61 percent of American adults who have children under the age of two have given those children OTC cough or cold medicine in the past 12 months, regardless of a 2008 recommendation by the FDA that children under the age of two should not be given the products.

“FDA warnings about OTC cough and cold medicines prompted a voluntary recall of products marketed for children younger than two years,” said Matthew Davis, M.D., associate professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School. “We wanted to see how well parents and physicians were adopting those recommendations. Unfortunately, this latest poll indicates that the FDA warnings have gone unheeded by the majority of parents, and surprisingly, many physicians.”
Study authors say a majority of parents were told by their child's physician that the medications were safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Warns Prescription Cough Capsules Can Kill Children

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The FDA is requiring that label warnings on prescription cough medication benzonatate (Tessalon) be changed to caution parents to keep it out of reach of children, reports MedPage Today

"Benzonatate should be kept in a child-resistant container and stored out of reach of children," said Carol Holquist, director of the FDA's Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis.

There have been reports of 31 overdoses and five toddler deaths related to the gelcaps, which look like candy.  Data included in the reports prompted action by the FDA.

The product, approved in 1958 for cough treatment in patients 10 and older, will remain on the market after the new label information is added.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio