Antihistamines not recommended for prolonged non-specific cough in children

Clinical question: 
Are antihistamines effective for prolonged non-specific cough in children?
Bottom line: 
Two studies found that chronic cough significantly improved in both treatment and placebo groups with no difference between the two groups. One small study, however, reported that children who had chronic cough associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis who were treated with cetirizine improved significantly more than children on placebo, and this difference was evident by two weeks.
Caveat: 
The three included studies were different in several ways. There was some clinical heterogeneity in the participants of the studies (different age groups), all of three studies used a different type of antihistamine, and in two studies children had allergic rhinitis arguably antihistamines would be more efficacious in these children.
Context: 
Non-specific cough is defined as non-productive cough in the absence of identifiable respiratory disease or known aetiology. It is a common condition, and children are treated with a variety of therapies, including antihistamines.
Review CD#: 
CD005604
PEARLS No: 
91
Date: 
September, 2008
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy