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Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2009 May 14;129(10):998-9. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.08.0438.

[Pharmacological treatment of acute cough].

[Article in Norwegian]

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Institutt for farmasi, Det medisinske fakultetet, Universitetet i Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø.


Acute cough may cause considerable distress for patients with upper airway infections, and is a symptom commonly presented to doctors. We wanted to assess the evidence basis for pharmacological treatment of this condition. Predefined terms (MeSH and Emtree) and free text were used to search PubMed and Embase for double-blind randomized trials, reviews and guidelines. Little evidence supports the use of guaifenesine, bromhexine and acetylcysteine for acute cough associated with upper airway infections. Likewise, there is insufficient evidence to decide whether noscapine, codeine and ehylmorphine are beneficial for acute cough on this indication. Well-designed randomized controlled trials with valid outcomes are needed to document possible benefits of treatment. Treatment with codeine or ethylmorphine may be at the expense of adverse effects, abuse or dependence.

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