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Cough syrup no more effective than placebo

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HERSHEY, Pa., Jul 06, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A Penn State University study has shown over-the-counter cough syrups are no more effective than non-medicated syrups for kids with respiratory infections.

The study at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center found no significant improvement in nighttime cough relief or sleep quality in children who were given dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, or diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, compared to those given a placebo.

"All three groups, including the non-medicated syrup group, showed dramatic improvement, with scores for cough frequency, impact on child and parent sleep, bothersome nature of cough, and severity of cough scoring lower," Dr. Ian Paul, assistant professor of pediatrics, said in a statement.

Scores for improvement in cough frequency were better in the non-medicated syrup group compared to kids treated with an over-the-counter medication.

Paul said the findings question whether OTC medications have a place in treating respiratory infections in children, where most symptoms simply need time to ease.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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