Cough medicines 'a waste of money'
The Royal College of GPs says people are better off using home remedies containing lemon and honey to treat a short-term cough
Cough medicines are a waste of money and people are better off drinking home remedies with lemon or honey, a leading body of doctors has claimed.
The Royal College of General Practitioners backed NHS advice which states that there is "little evidence" to suggest some cough medicines have any effect.
Dr Tim Ballard, vice chairman of the RCGP, said: "The medical evidence behind cough medicines is weak and there is no evidence to say that they will reduce the duration of illnesses – as such, GPs are unlikely to prescribe them."
He added that while some patients do find such medicines beneficial, patients who have had a cough for less than three weeks should seek advice from their local pharmacist.
Cough medicines, which usually cost between £3 and £5 for a small bottle, are part of an over-the-counter health care industry worth £3 billion a year.
But the NHS Choices website advises: "There's little evidence to suggest cough medicines actually work, although some ingredients may help treat symptoms associated with a cough, such as a blocked nose or fever."
The webpage adds that the "simplest and cheapest" treatment for a "short-term cough" may be a homemade remedy containing lemon and honey…