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Chest. 1982 Dec;82(6):713-8.

Antitussive effect of guaifenesin in young adults with natural colds. Objective and subjective assessment.


The efficacy of guaifenesin in reducing cough frequency in young adults with acute respiratory disease was evaluated by both an objective cough counting system and a questionnaire. A guaifenesin cough preparation and the syrup vehicle were administered in a double-blind manner. Coughs were recorded on tape over a 24-hour baseline evaluation period and a 36-hour treatment period for 42 patients. A pronounced diurnal variation in cough frequency was observed. The evaluation of efficacy was based upon comparisons between equivalent six-hour time periods of successive days. No antitussive effect of guaifenesin was demonstrated. The questionnaire was administered to 65 patients, including the 42 whose coughs were recorded. Of 26 patients with productive cough receiving guaifenesin, 25 (96 percent) reported a decrease in sputum thickness compared to 13 (54 percent) of 24 patients receiving the vehicle (p = 0.01, Fisher exact test). Twenty-three of 26 (88 percent) patients receiving guaifenesin also reported reduction in sputum quantity compared to 15 of 24 (62.5 percent) receiving the vehicle (p = 0.07, Fisher exact test). The diurnal variation in cough frequency measured by the tape recording was not apparent from the subjective cough frequency estimates obtained by the questionnaire.

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