Anticholinergics, honey, and antitussives ineffective for cough from acute bronchitis in underpowered study

Clinical Question

Are antitussives, honey, or anticholinergics helpful for symptom relief in patients with an acute bronchitis?

Bottom line

This primary care study is obviously hindered by being underpowered but adds to a literature that fails to find significant benefit to these agents. If someone wants to (understandably) avoid opioids, then honey seems like the safest ineffective alternative. 1b-

Study design: Randomized controlled trial (nonblinded)

Funding: Government

Setting: Outpatient (primary care)


Mark H. Ebell, MD, MS
University of Georgia
Athens, GA

Discuss this POEM



Cough treatment

Good to know these treatments have little benefit


Impact assessment



The value of placebos

This is an underpowered study which could have been much better if done better. Nevertheless it also undervalues the power of placebo


anticholergenic , honey and anttussive

good to know


Bien que l'étude manque de…

Bien que l'étude manque de puissance, elle vient de nouveau confirmer ce que je pense depuis longtemps. Les gens gaspillent leur argent à acheter des médicaments en vente libre pour tenter de réduire les symptômes de conditions bénignes auto résolutives.

Pieter Richard Verbeek

Anticholinergics, honey, and antitussives ineffective for co

Bottom line for me is that I would never adopt the conclusions of any study where half of the subjects did not complete the study. In general, I concur with the conclusions but based on prior research not this study.