Agave Offers Placebo Effect For Cough In Young Children Interview with:
Ian M. Paul, M.D., M.Sc.
Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences
Chief, Division of Academic General Pediatrics
Associate Vice Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics
Penn State College of Medicine
Hershey, PA 17033-0850

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Paul: This study highlights that a significant placebo effect exists in the treatment of young children with cough due to colds because agave nectar and placebo both resulted in improvement of child symptoms by parents compared with no treatment.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Paul: Because we previously showed that honey was effective as a treatment for children >1 year of age, we were surprised that agave nectar was not more effective than placebo.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Paul: While results of this study did not demonstrate that agave nectar was superior to placebo for the treatment of cough due to colds, the placebo effect demonstrated by our study is important given the lack of alternatives particularly among children <1 year.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Paul: The agave nectar appeared to show clinical, though not statistically significant benefits among those <1 year suggesting future study among children in this age category.

Paul IM, Beiler JS, Vallati JR, Duda LM, King TS. Placebo Effect in the Treatment of Acute Cough in Infants and Toddlers: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 27, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1609.