Background: Non-specific cough is defined as non-productive cough in the absence of identifiable respiratory disease or known aetiology. It is commonly seen in paediatric practice. These children are treated with a variety of therapies including inhaled anti-cholinergic medications.
Objectives: To determine the efficacy of inhaled anti-cholinergic medications in the management of prolonged non-specific cough in children.
Search strategy: The Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register and Cochrane Airways Group, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched. Relevant pharmaceutical companies were contacted. The latest searches were performed in July 2003.
Selection criteria: All randomised controlled trials comparing inhaled anti-cholinergic medication with a placebo medication.
Data collection and analysis: Results of searches were reviewed against pre-determined criteria for inclusion. No eligible trials were identified and thus no data were available for analysis. A single small trial in adults has been reported.
Main results: No randomised-controlled trials that examined the efficacy of inhaled anti-cholinergic medications in the management of prolonged non-specific cough in children were found.
Reviewer's conclusions: There is currently no evidence to support the use of inhaled anti-cholinergics for symptomatic control of non-specific cough in children. Further research examining the effects of this intervention is needed.