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Placebos are ‘more powerful than no treatment’ for children’s coughs

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The study’s results, which are printed in JAMA Pediatrics found that agave nectar is more efficient than watchful waiting.

Giving young children agave nectar or a placebo treatment of flavored, colored water both appear to help reduce cough symptoms at night more than not giving any treatment, according to a new study.

“Many pediatricians suggest doing nothing for cough and cold symptoms other than maintaining hydration and perhaps giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen,” said lead researcher Dr. Ian Paul, chief of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.

“It is possible that giving a sweet liquid ‘placebo’ is preferred for families and children than doing nothing or, even worse, taking an unnecessary antibiotic,” he said, adding that this is a discussion families should have with their providers.

Paul’s research team compared three treatment types among 120 children under 4 years old who had a nighttime cough lasting less than a week that did not appear related to any other specific condition. Credits: Placebo Treatment May Quiet Kids’ Cough – WebMD

Coughs are among the very typical reasons for kids to see a physician. Although over the counter medicines are available to treat colds and coughs in young kids, there’s little evidence to support them.

As portion of a voluntary change declared by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in 2008, most producers of these treatments contained cautions on their product labels saying the drug must not be utilized in kids under the age of four years.

Yet, in the lack of efficient treatments for cough in young kids, physicians report feeling forced by parents to prescribe antibiotics, although thesealthough the viruses that cause colds and coughs are not affected by these drugs.

“Pediatricians typically tell parents, ‘Don’t give your child anything,’ or at most give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen,” says Dr. Ian Paul, professor of pediatrics. “We know sick children are miserable and can’t sleep, and parents are frustrated that they can’t do anything to help.”

Forget giving your kid cough syrups that come packed with side effects and drowsiness- a team of researchers have now found that placebo treatment too, could be effective in tackling cough in younger children.

Simply giving children a dose of agave nectar or any colored or flavoured syrup which resembles acough syrup could help reduce the symptoms associated with cough better than not applying any treatment option whatsoever. Credits: Placebo Treatment Effective for Children with Cough – American Live Wire

A Nevertheless, honey is connected with hazards of infant botulism in kids under the age of 1 year.

Both agave nectar and placebo improved symptoms equally

The researchers recruited 119 kids aged 2-47 months from two general pediatric practices who’d nonspecific acute cough, nighttime symptoms and who were ill in total for 1 week or less.

The kids were given either commercially available grape- grape flavored agave nectar -flavored water or no treatment. Details on cough severity cough rate and parent and kid sleep quality were reported by the parents.

The study found that agave nectar along with the grape-flavored placebo improved cough symptoms than no treatment and that there were no major differences in effectiveness between them both.

In a little but important subgroup of 30 kids under the age of 1 year, yet, agave nectar was more powerful than the placebo. The researchers reported undesirable effects that were uncommon among placebo groups and the agave nectar.

Dr. Paul describes the results:

“We found that placebo was better than doing nothing. For kids under age 1, for which there is no other option, the findings may be particularly important.

Perhaps this is a case where giving a placebo, such as agave nectar or sugar water, can help parents and their babies get through this annoying illness. This is a discussion that the pediatric community and parents are going to have to have.”

The researchers admit that, since the study relies on parents there’s an element of subjectivity in the results. Nevertheless, other researchers contend this might not be a restriction of the analysis as “health care professionals and parents often make decisions based on subjective assessment of symptom severity.”

Parents believed that giving some form of treatment, such as pasteurized agave nectar or a placebo, to young childrensuffering from a cough can help. Credits: Agave Nectar, Placebo Aided Children Suffering from a Cough – Counsel & Heal


You may also want to watch this video on “Kids Health: Wet Cough – Natural Home Remedies for Wet Cough”:

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