3.9 Cough preparations

Drugs for cough not listed here:

Many of these products are cheap to buy and are readily available, along with advice, from pharmacies. Some self-care medicines are available in shops and supermarkets. Please click here for further information and a patient leaflet.

Cough suppression may be useful in specific circumstances in patients over 6 years of age (e.g. if sleep is disturbed), but can cause sputum retention which may be harmful in patients with chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.

If appropriate direct purchase of pholcodine linctus 5mg/5ml (SF is also available). Alternatively suggest purchasing simple linctus which has the advantage of being harmless and inexpensive. A paediatric version is also available for age of 1 year and over.

Simple linctus
  • Linctus (£1.03 = 200ml)


  • Adult and child over 12 years 5ml 3–4 times daily


  1. Simple linctus is available to be purchased over the counter.
  2. The BNF recommends that cough preparations should be avoided but recognises that simple linctus has the advantage of being harmless and inexpensive.


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