Cough medicine not beneficial for children

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds


CHILDREN under the age of six should not be prescribed cough and cold medication as it can be potentially harmful for them said a medical officer from the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday at a clinical audit symposium.

Through her audit study, Dr Nur Sadrina Hj Marsidi said she found that children under the age of six should not be given the regularly prescribed cough and cold medicines as they can naturally recover in the span of one or two weeks.

She said that it should not be prescribed as the medicines have no benefits at all when combating the illness

“When taken, (common effects include) children becoming drowsy and experiencing abnormally rapid heartbeat (taquicardia),” said the medical officer adding that only short term effects have been found and no long ones have been reported.

She said that if they are drowsy, they would suffer a lack of concentration thus doctors and parents are not able to gauge how well they have recovered.

“We want to know (the reason) why they are unwell, whether it is because of the illness or because of the cough and cold medicines given. So we set the conclusion that zero percent of children should be given the cough medicines” said Dr Nur Sadrina.

She said that among possible reasons it was prescribed in the first place by doctors was because they were not aware of the updated guidelines.

In turn, parents may request for cough medicines because it has always been a common practice for parents and their parents.

Dr Nur Sadrina stressed the need for clinical audits which provided doctors means to solving medical problems.

She added that people potentially could also have picked up the practice from other countries.

The doctor said that her clinical audit served as a guideline for people and doctors who prescribe cough and cold medicines to children.

Her clinical audit, titled “Use of Cough and Cold Medicines in Patients Below Six Years With Upper Respiratory Tract Infections”, was a collaboration with three other general practitioners based at Muara Health Centre.

The audit study, which used retrospective data from Brunei Darussalam Healthcare Information and Management System, won the Best Audit Poster Award during the Fourth Clinical Audit Symposium For Primary Health Care Services Doctors.

During the Clinical Audit Symposium event yesterday, the Best Audit Presentation award was granted to Dr Amelia Mutalib and Dr Yung Chee Tee from Department of Health Services with the topic “an Audit on the Standard of Practice in Anthropometric Measurements in Child Health Clinics in Brunei-Muara district.

In an MoH press statement, the symposium held at the ministry’s Dewan Al ‘Afiah was attended by more than 150 participants comprising primary health care doctors nurses and allied health professionals from government and private health institutions in the country.

A total of 23 clinical audits were submitted and displayed this year which was an increase from the previous years.

A clinical audit is a process defined as a quality improvement process that seeks to improve patient care and outcomes. 

The Brunei Times