Cough-and-cold fighters in the pharmacy

January 10, 2015

New OTC products offer several approaches to symptom relief.

What is it about colds that makes you feel so much sicker than you actually are? You know that cold in your head or chest is only temporary. It isn’t going to dog you for the rest of your life or heaven forfend be the death of you. It’s just a cold: a minor ailment that makes you cough until you’re blue in the face, sneeze until your brains rattle, and ache as if you’ve been pounded with mallets - not to mention the way it gunks up your head until you’re gasping for air, fills your throat with razor blades, and sets fire to your chest. Oh, yeah. Only a cold.

But wait! You have options. Before things get that far, you and your patients might consider exploring the symptom relief offered by the following products.

Three new products from Robitussin are designed to ameliorate colds and their related miseries. Lemon-flavored Medi-Soothers lozenges with liquid centers feature the same combination of dextromethorphan and menthol used in Robitussin’s liquid formulas to suppress coughs and ease throat pain. Adults and children over 12 can take two lozenges every four hours. They are not for children under 12 years of age or patients taking Rx MAOIs. (www.robitussin.com)

For cold sufferers who want to keep up a steady fight against coughing and congestion, Robitussin offers its two-bottle Maximum Strength Day/Night Pack. The daytime formula combines dextromethorphan with the expectorant guaifenesin to suppress coughs and ease chest congestion. The nighttime formula combines the cough suppressant with an antihistamine to relieve itchy throat, runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. These products are not for MAOI users and should not be used to sedate a child. (www.robitussin.com)

A product designed especially for children is Robitussin’s Children’s Cough and Chest Congestion DM. Intended for children over the age of six, the grape-flavored liquid is formulated to relieve coughs and thin mucus and chest congestion. Children under six and MAOI users should not use. (www.robitussin.com)

Also formulated specifically for children is Zim’s Advanced Vapor Rub, a nongreasy “100% natural” cough suppressant and topical analgesic containing menthol, arnica extract, aloe vera, camphor, coconut oil, white beeswax, and eucalyptus. Product literature indicates that the ointment targets “those seeking natural alternatives and parents not wanting to use harsh chemical products on children.” The product is available in either a jar or a tube with a simple no-mess applicator, and was slated to commence distribution to independent and regional drugstores by the end of 2014. It is also available from the Zim’s website. (www.zimsusa.com) (Zim's Advanced Vapor Rub product image courtesy of Perfecta Products)

Infirst Healthcare has launched a new product line for children, leading off with three cough-and-cold remedies that are 10% cocoa, intended to improve medication compliance through enhanced flavor with greater appeal for children. Dr. Cocoa for Children Long-Acting Cough Relief, with dextromethorphan, relieves cough for up to eight hours in children four to 13 years of age. The non-drowsy formula can be used day or night. Intended for the same age group, Dr. Cocoa for Children Daytime Cough + Cold Relief combines dextromethorphan and phenylephrine to relieve cough, congestion, and stuffy nose without compromising children’s alertness throughout the day. Dr. Cocoa for Children Nighttime Cough + Cold Relief, formulated with diphenhydramine and phenylephrine, relieves the symptoms of cough, congestion, and stuffy nose while enabling restful sleep. This product is intended for children between the ages of six and 13. All three Dr. Cocoa for Children products are dye-, alcohol-, and gluten-free. (www.drcocoa.com)

New for children from Matrixx Initiatives is Zicam Kids’ Soft Chew, a grape-flavored homeopathic cold product designed to relieve scratchy throats and congested or runny noses of children six to 11 years of age. The zinc-based chewable can be administered at the first sign of symptoms and will not cause drowsiness. (www.zicam.com)

Matrixx has also launched Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Spray, which, says the manufacturer, in addition to symptom relief “actually shortens the length of the cold” and is “clinically proven to reduce cold symptoms by up to 45% by the midpoint of a cold when taken as directed.” The plant-based nasal spray is zinc-free; ingredients include menthol and eucalyptus. (www.zicam.com) (Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Spray image courtesy of Matrixx Initiatives)

Another new homeopathic product is Cold-Eeze Cold Remedy Plus Multi-Symptom Relief Cold and Flu QuickMelts from ProPhase Labs. Formulated with zinc gluconate, elderberry, agueweed, peppermint, myrrah (the source of myrrh), and licorice, the tablets are said to diminish a cold’s duration and help relieve symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, and cough. They have a honey-lemon flavor and dissolve rapidly in the mouth without water. (www.coldeeze.com) (Cold-Eeze Cold Remedy Plus QuickMelts image courtesy of Pro-Phase Labs)

New from Ricola, manufacturer of homeopathic cough drops, are lemon-flavored Revitalizing Herb Drops, which offer both cold and cough relief and an “energy boost” through the addition of B vitamins to the effervescent powder in the center of the lozenge. Other ingredients include ginseng, elder, horehound, hyssop, lemon balm, linden flowers, mallow, peppermint, sage, thyme, and wild thyme. (www.ricola.com)

An entirely different approach to colds and coughs involves tackling them at their source. Two Massachusetts entrepreneurs have launched the Virus Zero Air Purification System, which uses "revolutionary" Samsung SPi technology to neutralize up to 99.7% of viruses, bacteria, and molds. The partners, who hold an exclusive U.S. license to market this technology, state that the product is the first of its kind in the U.S. market. It operates through continuous release of disinfecting ions that attack and neutralize not only airborne contaminants, “without noisy fans or ineffective filters,” but also surfaces with which the ions come in contact. The process is described as quiet and energy-efficient, and units are expected to last five to 10 years. Three units are available: A portable unit that fits into a cupholder and would be effective in a car, a small office, hotel room, or bedroom; a larger unit for living rooms, kitchens, basements, and shared spaces; and Virus Zero Pro, for larger open spaces, offices, and other commercial applications. Product literature states that Virus Zero holds 42 patents globally and is certified worldwide for its ability to greatly reduce viruses like influenza, H1N1, and other germs or volatile organic compounds in the air. (www.viruszero.com(Virus Zero Air Purification System image courtesy of Virus Zero)