Antibiotics Not Effective in Resolution of Cough From a Common Cold

Published Online: Monday, November 12, 2012
When children with acute cough were treated with either antitussive medication or antibiotics, antibiotics alone were associated with a lower percentage of cough resolution, according to the results of a study that was recently presented at CHEST 2012, the Annual Meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Researchers looked at 305 children with cough symptoms stemming from a common cold and surveyed the effectiveness of various treatments. Of the children studied, 89 were given antibiotics, 38 received a combination of antibiotics and antitussives, 44 received only central antitussives, 79 received only peripheral antitussives, and 55 received no medication. Peripheral anti-cough medications, such as levodropropizine, were found to be significantly more beneficial than centrally acting cough medications.

Despite the fact that antibiotics were found not to be effective for cough resolution, they are often given to children in a clinical pediatric setting to pacify parents, researchers noted. “Few drugs are effective as cough suppressants, and antibiotics are no more effective in relieving cough than the use of no medication,” said lead study author Francesco de Blasio, MD, FCCP, from the Clinic Center Private Hospital in Naples, Italy. “Using antibiotics as a treatment for cough without suspected infection is unnecessary and can be harmful,” he added.

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