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Letter to the editor

Editor, – Some of us have had serious reservations about the advisability and efficacy of over-the-counter medications in children for some time (Aust Prescr 2001;24:149-51). As stated in the article, there are few reliable sources of information. I thought your readers may be interested in some others.

There is an article showing the striking absence of efficacy data for cough and cold medicines in children, and the many non-scientific factors contributing to the frequency of their use.1 I was interested to learn that healthy children, who have not had a respiratory tract infection within the past month, cough 1-34 times per day.2

Another article on antipyretic therapy states that neither the detrimental effects of fever nor the salutary effects of antipyretic therapy have been confirmed experimentally. Furthermore, carefully controlled efficacy studies have never quantified the degree to which antipyretic therapy enhances the comfort of patients with fever.3

Even the old dependable gripe water for the treatment of colic is a sham! It now seems that its soothing effect derives from its sweet taste, which can be duplicated with sugar solutions.4

Ben Basger
North Bondi, NSW


Ben Basger

Pharmacist, North Bondi, NSW

Noel Cranswick

Clinical Pharmacologist, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne

George McGillivray

Fellow in General Paediatrics, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne