Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bites: Honey Just as Good for Children's Cough

A single dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime provided more relief from nighttime coughing than popular over-the-counter cough medicine in a study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Dr. Ian M. Paul and colleagues at Penn State College of Medicine conducted a study involving 105 children age 2 to 18 with upper respiratory tract infections who were sick for seven days or less and experienced symptoms during the night. Thirty-five children were randomly assigned to receive an age-appropriate dose of honey, 33 to receive dextromethorphan and 37 to receive no treatment for one night within 30 minutes of bedtime. The children's parents were asked to complete a survey assessing their child's cough and sleep difficulty the night before their assigned treatment and then again the night after treatment.

Honey was found to yield the greatest improvement followed by dextromethorphan, while no treatment showed the least improvement in cough frequency, cough severity, cough bothersome to child, child's sleep and parent's sleep.

"In paired comparisons, honey was significantly superior to no treatment for cough frequency and the combined score, but dextromethorphan was not better than no treatment for any outcome," the authors reported. "Comparison of honey with dextromethorphan revealed no significant differences.

"While our findings and the absence of contemporary studies supporting the use of dextromethorphan continue to question its effectiveness for the treatment of cough associated with upper respiratory tract infections, we have now provided evidence supporting honey, which is generally regarded as safe for children older than 1 year, as an alternative," the authors conclude.

Source: JAMA/Archives journals

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