Study suggests honey works as cough aid in children

by Staff
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HERSHEY, PA. — Honey could work as an alternative cough and sleep aid for children, according to a study by researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine.

The study, which enrolled 105 children between two and 18, found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given to children before bed gave greater relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty than children who received no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), a typical cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter medications. The study also found DM was not significantly better at relieving symptoms than no treatment at all.

The study has significance as the Food and Drug Administration recently recommended that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under six as a result of lack of effectiveness and potential side effects.

"Our study adds to the growing literature questioning the use of DM in children, but it also offers a legitimate and safe alternative for physicians and parents, said Ian Paul, M.D., lead researcher of the study. "Additional studies should certainly be considered, but we hope that medical professionals will consider the positive potential for honey as a treatment given the lack of proven efficacy, expense and potential for adverse effects associated with the use of DM."

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