Does Hyland’s help with cough?

Hyland’s is a popular brand of homeopathic medicines that offers a line of products aimed at relieving cough symptoms. Hyland’s claims its cough medicines can help manage both dry and wet coughs. But does Hyland’s really work for cough? Let’s take a closer look at what Hyland’s is, the ingredients in Hyland’s cough products, and what scientific research says about the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating coughs.

What is Hyland’s?

Hyland’s is a homeopathic company founded in 1903. Homeopathy is an alternative medical practice based on the idea that “like cures like.” This means that extremely diluted preparations of substances that cause symptoms can be used to treat those same symptoms.

For example, homeopathy claims that pollen or bee venom, which can cause reactions in some people, can be diluted and used to treat those same allergic symptoms. Homeopathic dilutions are often so extreme that the end product has little chance of containing even a single molecule of the original ingredient.

What’s in Hyland’s cough medicines?

Hyland’s cough products contain highly diluted natural ingredients, including:

  • Aconitum napellus (monkshood) for dry, croupy coughs
  • Belladonna for congestion and throat irritation
  • Bryonia for dry, painful coughs
  • Drosera for wet, spasmodic coughs
  • Spongia for dry, tickling coughs

The active ingredients are diluted to such a degree that they are unlikely to have any pharmacological effect. For example, Hyland’s 4 Kids Cough Syrup does not contain any detectable amount of active ingredients based on lab testing.

Does scientific evidence support Hyland’s cough products?

There is little clinical evidence to support the use of homeopathic cough remedies. Here is a summary of key scientific research on homeopathy for cough:

  • A 2015 review looked at 17 studies on over 1500 children and found no difference between homeopathy and placebo for treating upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, and asthma.
  • A 2010 systematic review evaluated 6 studies on over 600 children and found no convincing evidence that homeopathy was effective for treating childhood asthma, which often involves coughing.
  • A 2012 review assessed 9 studies and found homeopathy did not reduce the frequency or severity of childhood cough and cold symptoms more than placebo.
  • A 2018 randomized controlled trial gave a homeopathic syrup or placebo to over 300 children for treating upper respiratory infections. There was no difference in cough frequency or severity between the groups after 5 days.

Overall, reviews consistently conclude there is no good evidence homeopathy performs better than placebo for cough or other upper respiratory symptoms. This lack of evidence applies to both adults and children.

Key Questions About Hyland’s and Cough

How does Hyland’s claim to work?

Hyland’s states its products provide gentle relief by working with your body’s natural healing processes. The company says the highly diluted ingredients stimulate the body to heal itself.

According to homeopathic principles, the extreme dilutions are supposed to make the remedies safer and their effects longer-lasting compared to regular medicine. However, from a scientific perspective there is no plausible mechanism by which these highly diluted ingredients could have any physical effect on the body.

Is Hyland’s FDA approved?

No, Hyland’s products are not evaluated or approved by the FDA. Since 1938, homeopathic products have been exempt from FDA approval. However, Hyland’s must comply with FDA manufacturing and labeling standards for homeopathic remedies. The FDA does require homeopathic products meet certain criteria to be legally marketed.

Is Hyland’s safe for children and infants?

Hyland’s states its products are gentle, safe and non-drowsy. The highly diluted ingredients make side effects very unlikely. However, the lack of FDA oversight means safety testing isn’t required. There also isn’t robust research on the long-term safety of homeopathy for infants and children.

As with any medication for young children, parents should consult a pediatrician before use and watch closely for any side effects. Hyland’s is generally not recommended for children under 2 years old without medical approval.

Does Hyland’s have side effects or risks?

Side effects from Hyland’s cough products are very uncommon due to the high dilutions used. However, some risks include:

  • Aggravation of symptoms: Some sources report initial worsening of cough or other symptoms after taking homeopathy. This is regarded as a positive reaction by homeopathic standards.
  • Allergic reactions: Hyland’s contains trace amounts of plants, animals or minerals that can potentially cause allergies in sensitive individuals.
  • Contamination: There is a small risk from contamination since homeopathic products aren’t subjected to FDA oversight.
  • Delay of conventional care: Relying solely on homeopathy while avoiding science-based treatments could potentially delay effective therapy.

Can Hyland’s be used with other medications?

Hyland’s is unlikely to interact negatively with most conventional medications or supplements due to the high dilutions used. However, comprehensive drug interaction research is lacking. It’s best to consult your pharmacist or doctor when using any complementary health product alongside other medicines.

How long does it take for Hyland’s to work?

Hyland’s suggests its cough products begin working within a few doses to naturally calm your cough. However, clinical evidence does not show homeopathic cough remedies work any faster than a placebo. Any perceived benefits are likely due to natural improvement over time or the placebo effect rather than the homeopathic medicine itself.

What do reviews say about Hyland’s cough products?

Hyland’s cough medicines receive mixed consumer reviews. Many parents report Hyland’s 4 Kids and Baby Cough Syrups quickly soothe their child’s cough. However, just as many say it didn’t help at all. Reviews for Hyland’s adult cough formulas are also mixed. Positive reviewers say symptoms improve after 1-2 days. Negative reviewers report no effect even after a week or more of use.

Using Hyland’s Cough Products

What are the different types of Hyland’s cough medicines?

Hyland’s offers a range of single and combination homeopathic cough products. Popular options include:

  • 4 Kids Complete Cough Syrup: For dry or loose coughs plus nasal congestion in ages 2-12.
  • 4 Kids Cold ‘n Cough Nighttime: Adds chamomile and passionflower for nighttime cough and cold relief.
  • Baby Cough Syrup: For irritating coughs with optional honey flavoring. Not for under 1 year old.
  • Baby Nighttime Cough Syrup: With chamomile and passionflower for overnight relief.
  • Chesty Cough Syrup: Blended formula for wet, congested coughs in adults and kids 6+.
  • Dry Cough Syrup: For dry, tickling coughs in adults and kids 2+.

Tablets, lozenges, and children’s meltaway pellets are also available. See the company’s website for a full range.

What’s the recommended Hyland’s dosage?

Hyland’s provides the following dosage recommendations. However, follow your doctor’s instructions and read labels carefully, especially when giving to children:

Hyland’s Product Age Dosage
4 Kids Cough Syrup 2-12 years 1 tsp 3-6 times per day
Baby Cough Syrup 1-11 months 1/4 tsp 3-6 times per day
Baby Cough Syrup 12-23 months 1/2 tsp 3-6 times per day
Chesty Cough Syrup Adults & kids 6+ 1 tsp 3-6 times per day
Dry Cough Syrup Adults & kids 2+ 1 tsp 3-6 times per day

How long should you use Hyland’s cough syrup?

Hyland’s recommends using their cough formulas for up to 7 days or as directed by a doctor. Don’t give to children under 2 years for more than 3 days unless approved by their physician. Discontinue use if symptoms persist or worsen.

Does Hyland’s help instantly with coughs?

No, Hyland’s is not indicated to provide instant cough relief. While some parents claim it helps their child’s cough quickly, there is no clinical evidence Hyland’s works faster than placebo for coughs or cold symptoms. Any instant relief is likely due to the placebo effect rather than the homeopathic medicine itself.

Can you take Hyland’s while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Hyland’s cough products are likely low risk during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, always check with your obstetrician first since these products haven’t been robustly studied for safety in pregnancy. Your doctor can help you decide if potential benefits outweigh possible risks for your situation.

Alternatives to Hyland’s

What over-the-counter cough medicines does Hyland’s compete with?

Popular over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine competitors to Hyland’s include:

  • Robitussin for wet, mucus-y coughs.
  • Delsym for long-lasting cough relief.
  • Mucinex for chest congestion and phlegm.
  • Benylin for both adult and children’s coughs.
  • Vicks for cough plus congestion.
  • Dimetapp for kids’ cough and cold relief.

These OTC options contain science-backed ingredients like dextromethorphan (DXM), guaifenesin or diphenhydramine. In contrast, Hyland’s relies entirely on homeopathic formulations.

Are prescription cough medicines more effective than Hyland’s?

Yes, prescription cough medicines are generally more clinically proven to be effective than homeopathic formulas like Hyland’s. Common prescription options include:

  • Codeine or hydrocodone to reduce coughing.
  • Inhalers containing albuterol to open airways.
  • Cough suppressants like benzonatate or levodropropizine.
  • Oral steroids like prednisone for inflammation.
  • Expectorants like guaifenesin with an antitussive.

Studies support the efficacy of prescription cough medications. But they have more potential side effects than Hyland’s and aren’t suitable for all patients.

When should you see a doctor for cough instead of using Hyland’s?

See a doctor right away if you or your child experience:

  • Cough lasting more than 3 weeks
  • Cough producing bloody, brown or green mucus
  • Wheezing, fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss along with cough
  • Cough following a choking incident
  • Cough and sore throat after travel
  • Flare-up of an existing lung condition like COPD

Make an appointment within a few days if OTC remedies like Hyland’s aren’t controlling cough or cold symptoms. Seeking medical care is preferred to prolonged use of any cough medicine in young children.

What are natural ways to soothe a cough in addition to Hyland’s?

Some evidence-based, natural cough soothers include:

  • Honey: Shown to relieve nighttime coughing in children over one year. Use pasteurized honey.
  • Proper hydration: Drinking fluids keeps mucus thin and easy to clear.
  • Saltwater gargle: Soothes sore throat which can trigger coughs.
  • Steam inhalation: Loosens mucus and eases congestion and coughs.
  • Chest rubs: Menthol may help suppress cough receptors.
  • Cough drops: TEMPORARILY relieve dry, tickling coughs.
  • Diffusers: Adds moisture to dry air which can reduce coughing.

Be aware that few natural remedies have strong clinical evidence for coughs. Check with your child’s doctor before using any cough supplements.

The Bottom Line on Hyland’s for Coughs

Does Hyland’s help coughs?

There is no good scientific evidence that Hyland’s homeopathic medicines can treat or shorten the duration of coughs better than a placebo. A few small studies show a slight positive effect, but most well-designed trials show homeopathy does not outperform placebo for any chest or cold symptoms.

While some parents swear Hyland’s helps their child’s cough, that is likely due to the large placebo effect seen with cough medicines rather than any medicinal effect. Overall, Hyland’s cannot be recommended over proven OTC cough medications.

Is Hyland’s worth trying for coughs?

Hyland’s is generally safe to try, aside from the cost. Since the products lack pharmacologically active ingredients, there is little risk of side effects or interactions. However, Hyland’s hasn’t been proven more effective than a sugar pill for coughs.

It may be worth trying in children over two years old along with other remedies like honey under a doctor’s supervision. But overall, Hyland’s doesn’t appear to offer benefits over FDA-approved OTC cough medicines.

When should you see a doctor for coughs rather than using Hyland’s?

See a doctor right away if the cough produces blood or mucus, comes with wheezing or difficulty breathing, lasts over 3 weeks, or gets worse instead of better over time.

Chronic coughs, coughs in smokers, and coughs that disrupt sleep or occur alongside other symptoms warrant an urgent visit to a physician instead of relying on unproven homeopathic cough formulas.

The Take-Away

While popular for over a century, Hyland’s homeopathic cough products lack quality clinical evidence showing they relieve coughs better than placebo. There’s little harm in combining Hyland’s with other remedies under medical guidance. But for best results, choose FDA-approved OTC cough suppressants or see a doctor for prescription cough relief.

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