The pioneering research suggests that there is no evidence that mixtures for coughs, drops or syrups accelerate a patient's recovery time or alleviate their annoying symptoms.
Both the dry cough and the thorax take the same amount of time to go, regardless of whether a patient takes medication or not, according to the first study of this type.
Cough is one of the main reasons why a person visits their GP, with $ 4 billion spent worldwide on medication for minor complaints every year.
After analyzing six studies with more than 700 patients, the researchers concluded that "there is no beneficial treatment for cough."
Instead, patients should focus on personal care, such as drinking plenty of water and getting enough rest.
The pioneering research suggests that there is no evidence that mixtures for coughs, drops or syrups speed up a patient's recovery time or relieve their annoying symptoms (stock)
The researchers, from the University of Basel, analyzed the studies with a total of 724 patients suffering from cough that lasted between three and eight weeks. These coughs were caused by viruses instead of diseases such as asthma.
They evaluated the effectiveness of all forms of cough medicines, in addition to traditional Chinese or Asian medicines.
Such drugs included the analgesic codeine; the oral tablet montelukast, which appears under the brand Singulair; and budesonide nasal spray, as well as inhalers.
The results suggest that no cough medicine speeds the patient's recovery or relieves the severity of their symptoms.
In general, all study participants saw that their symptoms improved regardless of whether they took any medication.
Cough treatments also do not improve the patient's lung capacity or facilitate breathing.
Writing in the British Journal of General Practice, the scientists said: "The evidence on treatment options for subacute cough is weak, there is no treatment that shows clear benefits relevant to the patient in clinical trials."
Both the dry cough and the thorax take the same amount of time regardless of whether a patient takes medication or not, according to the first study of this type (stock)
Speaking of the findings, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs, added: "It is not uncommon for a persistent cough to develop after a viral infection.
"General practitioners understand that this can be really irritating for patients, but as this study shows, there are often very few family doctors can do to cure this type of cough, which usually go away on their own after several weeks and the greater benefit comes from the basic self-care. & # 39;
In addition to the fact that cough medicines are ineffective, 14 percent of people experience side effects from such medications. Although they are usually mild, they can include fainting, chest discomfort, and nausea.
To relieve bothersome cough, Professor Stokes-Lampard recommends that patients stay well hydrated and get plenty of rest.
He also warns that the cough that does not go away can be a sign of something more sinister, like lung cancer.
The current advice of the NHS is that patients seek medical attention if they have had a persistent cough for more than three weeks, although many innocent coughs last much longer, but if patients are coughing up blood or if the cough is accompanied by chest pain, they should make an urgent appointment to see their GP, "added Professor Stokes-Lampard.