Study: Cold Medicine Ineffective for Kids under Six

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. side effect / saɪd ɪˈfɛkt / (n) – a secondary result of taking medicine, usually unpleasant

    Sleepiness is one of the side effects of my medicine for allergies.

  2. sufficient / səˈfɪʃənt / (adj) – enough

    The researchers found sufficient evidence to support their findings.

  3. prescribe / prɪˈskraɪb / (v) – to order or officially tell someone to take a specific medicine or treatment

    My doctor prescribed this cold medicine.

  4. medication / ˌmɛdɪˈkeɪʃən / (n) – medicine

    The doctor wants me to take this medication for two months.

  5. die down / daɪ daʊn / (idiom) – to become less strong

    The symptoms of the common cold usually die down after a few days.


Read the text below.

Using medicine to treat colds among children under six years old is ineffective and may cause harmful side effects, a recent study says.

Researchers from Belgium and Australia published the results of the study on the British Medical Journal. To be able to look into the effectiveness of different cold medicines, experts analyzed subject-related articles from Cochrane Library and a search engine called PubMed.

After examining the information gathered, experts found no sufficient evidence that medicine alleviates cold symptoms. For this reason, the researchers said that doctors should be cautious in prescribing cold medicine even if previous studies show that it may be effective for children between six and 12 years old. According to experts, certain medications carry potentially harmful side effects like upset stomach, headache, increased blood pressure, as well as convulsions or uncontrollable muscle movements.

Instead of prescribing cold medicines, the authors of the study encouraged doctors to assure patients that the symptoms would die down within seven to 10 days.

Dr. Partha Nandi, an expert in internal medicine, strongly supports the outcome of the study. In an article posted on the website “Fox 47 News,” Dr. Nandi cited the results of the study and gave suggestions on how to help children with colds feel better.

Rather than treating colds with medicine, Dr. Nandi recommended that parents use accurate pain and fever medications to decrease children’s discomfort. Moreover, the doctor emphasized that patients with cold symptoms should drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• After reading the article, would you still continue taking medications for common colds? Why or why not?
• Do you think experts should further evaluate the effectiveness of cold medicines? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Which do you think is more important: developing new medications or evaluating the effectiveness of existing medicine? Why?
• In your opinion, what medications should be re-evaluated based on their effectiveness? Explain.