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To the Editor:—
The editorial comment on the cough syrup in The Journal Dec. 28, 1946, requires some amendment:I have been working on research with expectorant drugs for almost ten years in place of the six years mentioned. I did not assume that cough syrups were expectorant but rather tried to find out what value they have, if any, in the treatment of cough. I did not find that simple syrups act as expectorants but rather as demulcent antitussives. I have found that most expectorant drugs act reflexly from the stomach. Converting a dry cough to a "productive" cough is not, from my work, the action of expectorants. Practically all expectorants do not augment the volume of sputum ("expectorates") but rather soothe a cough by increasing the volume of respiratory tract fluid, which, in practically all cases, acts as a demulcent to the irritated lining of the respiratory tree
Boyd EM. COUGH SYRUP. JAMA. 1947;133(10):716. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880100060024