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'Chocolate cough cure' in sight

An ingredient found in cocoa could soon be turned into a medicine for persistent cough, researchers claim.

Beats cod liver oil, hands down...
Beats cod liver oil, hands down...
Image: Jamie Anne via Creative Commons

SCIENTISTS HAVE CLAIMED to have found a cure for persistent coughing – and it’s a medicine that’s almost certain to go down easy.

Nicknamed the ‘chocolate cure’, a naturally-occurring substance in cocoa named theobromine apparently attacks the root cause of irritation that causes persistent coughing.

The Telegraph reports that 7.5 million people in Britain alone suffer from a persistent cough every year, which is defined as a cough that lasts more than two weeks after the underlying cause disappears.

Treatment for persistent coughs has traditionally been opiate-based medicines – such as cough syrups containing codeine. While health experts agree that using narcotics to deal with complaints is not ideal, if the complaint is persistent it also raises the problem of reliance. Opiate-based medicines have been banned for under-18s in the UK this year, as the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency deemed that the risks involved outweighed the benefits.

Theobromine is reportedly found in significant quantities in cocoa-based products.

Professor Alyn Morice from the Hull Cough Clinic, said:

Due to the drawbacks of current opioid drugs such as codeine, we are in desperate need of a non-opioid treatment with a drastically improved side effect profile for patients.

A British-based drugs company called SEEK is developing the drug, which is already sold in South Korea. The UK developers say that the drug could be on the market within two years.

And if you dislike chocolate, never fear – the theobromine treatment will be flavourless.

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