3.9 Cough preparations

NHS England (NHSE) has published new prescribing guidance for various common conditions for which over the counter (OTC) items should not be routinely prescribed in primary care (quick reference guide). These conditions include coughs, colds, and nasal congestion.

Many cough and cold treatments are cheap to buy and are readily available OTC along with advice from pharmacies. Some self-care medicines are available from shops and supermarkets. Please click here for further information, exceptions, and a patient leaflet.

Cough suppression may be useful in specific circumstances in patients over 6 years of age (e.g. if sleep is disturbed), but can cause sputum retention which may be harmful in patients with chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.

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Last updated: 04-09-2019


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