Americans spend $3.5 billion annually on over-the-counter cough remedies. Experts say much of this money is wasted. Guidelines released by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) earlier this year indicate that many of the "active" ingredients in cough remedies may be ineffective, reports the May issue of the Harvard Health Letter.
There are many nonprescription cough medicines, but most contain the same types of active ingredients in a limited number of strengths and combinations. Here are the four main ones:
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