OTC ( over the counter drugs) Dextromethorphan (Robitussin Long Acting Cough Gels, Vicks Dayquil Cough) Guaifenesin (Mucinex 12 Hour, Tab Tussin) Topical rubs, patches, and lozenges that contain camphor or menthol (Halls Menthol Cough Drops, Mentholatum, Vicks VaporRub).
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THEY? Guaifenesin, an expectorant, thins mucus, making coughs more productive. Dextromethorphan, a suppressant, blocks the cough reflex. Vapors from tropical can feel soothing. But it’s unclear whether any cough drug reduces episodes of coughing.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS? Topicals can trigger rashes and a burning sensation. Oral drugs can lead to nausea and make you sleepy. High doses of dextromethorphan can cause rapid heart beat, loss of coordination, and hallucinations.
WHAT THEY CAN INTERACT WITH: Cough suppressants can cause increased sedation when taken with narcotics, sleeping pills, some antihistamines, or alcohol.
HOME REMEDIES: Honey It tastes good and feels soothing, and a 2014 review suggests that it’s better than a placebo at easing coughs. Add a teaspoon or two to a cup of tea or consume it straight off the spoon And don’t worry: A little extra sugar, when you are sick, won’t harm you. But one caution: Honey can contain the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which in rare cases can damage muscles and nerves in babies. So don’t give it to infants younger than a year old.
Source: Consumer Reports magazine January 2018
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