Background: Available pediatric treatments for acute cough are limited by lack of demonstrated efficacy. The objective of this trial is to compare the effects of a polysaccharide-resin-honey based cough syrup, and carbocysteine syrups on nocturnal and daytime cough associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infections (URIs).
Methods: Using a single-blind randomization design, the study recruited children from 4 general pediatric community clinics. Participants included 150 children aged 2 to 5 years with an URI, nocturnal and daytime cough and illness duration of ≤7 days. To be eligible, children had to be free of medication on the day before presentation. A survey was administered to parents on 4 consecutive days beginning from the day of presentation in clinic. Children received the study preparation on the first evening and then 3 times per day for 3 further days. Main outcome measures were cough frequency, cough severity, bothersome nature of cough, and quality of sleep for both child and parent.
Results: Both preparations were well tolerated and cough improved over the study period. After one night and on all survey days, there was a significantly better result for polysaccharide-resin-honey (P<0.05) for all the main outcome measures. The trend of improvement over the 4 days was steeper for polysaccharide-resin-honey (P<0.05) with regards to all cough parameters.
Conclusions: Both polysaccharide-resin-honey and carbocysteine cough syrups were well tolerated in children over 2 years of age. The polysaccharide-resin-honey syrup was associated with a more rapid and greater improvement in all clinical cough symptoms measured, beginning from the first night of therapy. Both nocturnal and daytime cough improved, as did sleep quality for both children and parents.
Keywords: children; cough; upper respiratory tract infection.