Therapeutic options for acute cough due to upper respiratory infections in children

Lung. 2012 Feb;190(1):41-4. doi: 10.1007/s00408-011-9319-y. Epub 2011 Sep 4.


Cough due to upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) is one of the most frequent complaints encountered by pediatric health-care providers, and one of the most disruptive symptoms for children and families. Despite the frequency of URIs, there is limited evidence to support the few therapeutic agents currently available in the United States (US) to treat acute cough due to URI. Published, well-designed, contemporary research supporting the efficacy of narcotics (codeine, hydrocodone) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved over-the-counter (OTC) oral antitussives and expectorants (dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine, chlophedianol, and guaifenesin) is absent for URI-associated pediatric cough. Alternatively, honey and topically applied vapor rubs may be effective antitussives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antitussive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / drug therapy*
  • Cough / etiology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Expectorants / therapeutic use
  • Honey
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Terpenes / therapeutic use


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Expectorants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Terpenes
  • camphor, cedar leaf oil, eucalyptus oil, menthol, myristica oil, terebinth oil, thymol drug combination