The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 80, Issue 11, pp 891–895

To Compare the Effect of Dextromethorphan, Promethazine and Placebo on Nocturnal Cough in Children Aged 1–12 y with Upper Respiratory Infections: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12098-013-1002-2

Cite this article as:
Bhattacharya, M., Joshi, N. & Yadav, S. Indian J Pediatr (2013) 80: 891. doi:10.1007/s12098-013-1002-2



To evaluate whether promethazine and dextromethorphan reduce nocturnal cough and improve sleep quality in children aged 1–12 y with upper respiratory tract infection (URI).


This randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled trial was conducted in Pediatric outpatient department of Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi. After randomization into promethazine, dextromethorphan and placebo groups, parental assessment of 120 children with URI for nocturnal cough severity (child), post-tussive vomiting (child) and sleep quality (child and parent) on the night before enrolment and after 3 d of assigned medication was measured using an internally validated indigenously prepared ordinal scale.


Entire cohort improved in all the study parameters after 3 d. However, no superior benefit was noted when individual parameters were compared in the promethazine and dextromethorphan groups with the placebo group. Adverse effects were more frequent in the dextromethorphan and promethazine groups although the difference was not statistically significant.


Nocturnal cough in URI is self-resolving and dextromethorphan and promethazine prescribed for the same are not superior to placebo.


CoughUpper respiratory infectionChildrenCough formulation

Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malobika Bhattacharya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Neha Joshi
    • 1
  • Sangita Yadav
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsMaulana Azad Medical College & Lok Nayak HospitalNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.DelhiIndia