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"A spoonful of honey calms an irritating cough"

Globe and Mail

Source: Globe and Mail

Published: 07 Dec 2021

Category: Other

Rating: (3 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Concern over the safety of children's cough and cold medicines has recently reached a fevered pitch.
An expert panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for a complete ban on all over-the-counter remedies aimed at children under the age of 6.
And many leading doctors agree that if used incorrectly, the cough syrups have the potential to do serious harm...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

While this is a short story about the benefits of using honey in treating night time coughs, the news hook is the recent ban proposed by the US FDA on cough and cold remedies for children under six,
It appears that the use of honey was studied in comparison to either placebo or dextromethorphan the active ingredient in many cough remedies. While the honey seemed to be "significantly better" than the comparative treatments we don't really find out what that means or what measures were used to show its benefit.

It was good to see some detailed information about who should not be taking honey (small children) and the suggested dosage sizes but we are left with some unanswered questions, including the potential conflicts of interest: did the honey manufacturers fund the study?

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