Antibiotics don't clear up children's coughs any quicker - in fact they're as slow as using nothing at all
- Cough medicine is the best treatment for coughs caused by a common cold, say Italian researchers
- GPs simply give antibiotics to 'pacify parents,' despite the fact they are ineffective
Antibiotics are not effective in treating children’s coughs caused by the common cold and may even slow recovery down.
These were the conclusions of Italian researchers, who looked at the treatment of 305 children suffering such coughs.
the children, one group received antibiotics only, while another
received combination of antibiotics and cough-suppressing medication.
The rest of the children received nothing at all.
They found those treated with both cough medicine and antibiotics recovered quicker than those just given antibiotics.
Children treated with
both cough medicine and antibiotics recovered quicker than those just
given antibiotics, who hate the same rate as those who were given no
But those given only antibiotics recovered no quicker than the children given nothing.
The study was presented at annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians this week.
author Francesco de Blasio, of the University of Bologna, said GPs
often wrote prescriptions for coughs to ‘pacify parents’.
He added: ‘However, antibiotics show very little effectiveness at treating cough due to your average head cold.’
‘Few drugs are as effective as cough
suppressants, and antibiotics are no more effective in relieving cough
than the use of no medication.’
guidance states that antibiotics are not used to treat coughs because
they are only effective in killing bacteria, not viruses.
Therefore, unless you develop a secondary bacterial infection, such as pneumonia, antibiotics will not usually be advised.
although antibiotics may not be an effective therapy for cough, they
can be useful in treating underlying infections that may produce cough,
said Dr de Blasio. ‘But this does not mean they should be overused.
antibiotics as a treatment for cough without suspected infection is
unnecessary and can be harmful. Repeated use of antibiotics, especially
when they are ineffective, can lead to adverse allergic reactions or a
resistance to the medications.’
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