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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.
If appropriate direct purchase of pholcodine linctus 5mg/5ml (SF is also available). Alternatively suggest purchasing simple linctus which has the advantage of being harmless and inexpensive. A paediatric version is also available for age of 1 year and over.