, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 509-513

Comparative Efficacy and Tolerability of Pholcodine and Dextromethorphan in the Management of Patients with Acute, Non-Productive Cough

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Introduction: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of pholcodine with that of dextromethorphan, one of the most used cough sedative products, in patients with acute, non-productive cough.

Methods: 129 adults with a diagnosis of acute, frequent, non-productive cough participated in a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, multicenter trial. Medications were in a syrup formulation and were taken orally three times daily for 3 days. The efficacy endpoints were the change from baseline in the daytime and night-time cough frequency on 5-point scales at day 3, and cough intensity.

Results: A reduction of 1.4 and 1.3 points in the mean daytime cough frequency at day 3 was seen in the pholcodine and dextromethorphan groups, respectively, in the per-protocol population. The reduction in mean night-time cough was 1.3 for both groups. Cough intensity reduction was 0.7 for pholcodine and 0.8 for dextromethorphan.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that the efficacy of a 3-day course of pholcodine is similar to that of dextromethorphan in the treatment of adult patients with acute, non-productive cough. Both medications were well tolerated.