Wisconsin Medical Society: Study: Physicians see limited benefit from cold remedies

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Steve Busalacchi
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Madison (January 10, 2008) —The bottom line is that doctors agree there is just no magic bullet to defeating or substantially minimizing the effects of the common cold.

A survey of physicians and medical researchers, just published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal (Volume 106, No. 8), asked family physicians and others considered “experts” on common cold research what they thought of such treatments as zinc, vitamin C and antihistamines.

“Responding family physicians and experts agreed that cold remedies do not reduce illness duration,” report the authors, who are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Family Medicine.

On the other hand, there was a lot of disagreement about what worked regarding “severity reduction,” though decongestants were rated most positively.

“Interesting to us, antihistamines and Echinacea received the most favorable ratings, with the largest number of moderately strong or very strong ratings,” the authors report. Zinc nasal spray got the worst ratings.