• Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021 1
  • Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021 2
  • Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021 3
  • Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021 4
  • Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021 5

Top 10 Best Cough Drops in 2021

2020 is not a good year to cough in public. Even if you're just having seasonal allergies or are sensitive to dry air, a coughing fit will probably cause everyone around you to panic! So you reach for some cough drops to soothe your tickly throat... but which brands really work and which are basically candy? And what kind of relief do you need? Do you need medicated, menthol, herbal, honey, or other natural remedies?


We've searched online to find out how to choose the best cough and throat drops and chosen the top 10. Check out our list and buying guide, and get throat and cough drops that are actually effective!

  • Last updated: 06-07-2021
  • 830 views
Table of Contents

Do Cough Drops Really Work?

The short answer is: it depends what you expect them to do! When you have a cough, your body is trying to get rid of some irritant in your airways. 

They Can Soothe a Wet Cough

They Can Soothe a Wet Cough

You may have heard that you shouldn't try to suppress a "wet" cough, because that's when your body is trying to expel phlegm and mucus from sickness. So in the case of a cough that brings up fluids, just get throat drops that can soothe if you need it.

Drops for a Dry Cough May Be a Placebo Effect

Drops for a Dry Cough May Be a Placebo Effect

The kind of cough most people want to stop is an annoying dry cough that just won't quit. There are cough drops with medicines called antitussives which many people find can suppress their cough. 


However, multiple studies have shown that these medications perform no better than placebos! If you find they do the trick for you, consider yourself lucky and look for cough drops with these medicines.

But Wait! They Can Still Help

But Wait! They Can Still Help

There are some ways cough and throat drops can be effective, though. Ingredients called demulcents which coat your throat can help to reduce irritation. Some medicinal drops contain pain-suppressing anesthetics


Other ingredients can cause temporary pain or irritation in the mouth or nose, making you think you can breathe better or causing you to forget about your sore throat! We'll discuss all these ingredients in more detail in the buying guide, so you can decide which ones may be the best for you.

Top 10 Best Cough Drops to Buy Online

We've read the reviews, consulted a pharmacist, and tried some of these ourselves! Whether you need medicated, herbal, or something for kids, you'll find products on this list you should try.

1

Fisherman's FriendOriginal Extra-Strong Drops

2 packs

$6.30

Amount40 lozenges
Main ingredientsMenthol, capsicum, dextrin, eucalyptus oil, natural licorice, sugar, tragacanth
FlavorMenthol (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, cough, stuffy nose
Ages5+
2

CepacolExtra Strength Sore Throat and Cough

$8.08

Amount16 lozenges
Main ingredientsBenzocaine (7.5 mg), dextromethorphan hydrobromide (5 mg)
FlavorMixed berry (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, cough
Ages6+
3

HoneesSoothing Throat Drops - Honey

$4.99

Amount20 drops
Main ingredientsSugar, glucose syrup, honey, water
FlavorHoney
Recommended forSore throat, cough
Ages5+
4

Little RemediesSore Throat Pops

$3.48

Amount10 pops
Main ingredientsPectin, caramel color, corn syrup, honey, natural flavor, sucrose, water
FlavorHoney
Recommended forSore throat, cough
Ages3+
5

ChlorasepticMax Sore Throat Lozenges

$9.99

Amount15 lozenges
Main ingredientsBenzocaine (15mg), menthol
FlavorWild berries (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, cough, stuffy nose
Ages6+
6

Ryukakusan (imported by SolsticeMed)Mint Flavor Herbal Drops

$10.99

Amount32 drops
Main ingredientsJapanese honeysuckle, peppermint, star anise, licorice, jujube, chamomile, linden, marshmallow flower, other herbs
FlavorMint (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, breath freshening
AgesN/A
7

Sound HealthSugar Free Cough Drops

4 packs

$9.99

Amount70 drops per pack
Main ingredientsMenthol, acesulfame potassium, corn starch, eucalyptus oil, others
FlavorMenthol
Recommended forSore throat, stuffy nose
Ages5+
8
Amount24 lozenges per pack
Main ingredientsMenthol, acesulfame potassium, eucalyptus, others
FlavorCherry (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, stuffy nose
Ages6+
9

ThayersSlippery Elm Lozenges (Original)

$5.26

Amount42 lozenges
Main ingredientsSlippery elm, corn-based sweetener, vegetable stearate
FlavorOriginal (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, cough
Ages3+
10

SucretsSore Throat Lozenges

$7.39

Amount18 lozenges
Main ingredientsDyclonine hydrochloride 2.0mg
FlavorWild cherry (others available)
Recommended forSore throat
Ages4+

Compare the Best Cough and Throat Drops

Image
1
Fisherman's Friend Original Extra-Strong Drops 1

Fisherman's Friend

2
Cepacol Extra Strength Sore Throat and Cough 1

Cepacol

3
Honees Soothing Throat Drops - Honey 1

Honees

4
Little Remedies Sore Throat Pops 1

Little Remedies

5
Chloraseptic Max Sore Throat Lozenges 1

Chloraseptic

6
Ryukakusan (imported by SolsticeMed) Mint Flavor Herbal Drops 1

Ryukakusan (imported by SolsticeMed)

7
Sound Health Sugar Free Cough Drops 1

Sound Health

8
N'ice Sugar-Free Diabetic Safe Lozenges 1

N'ice

9
Thayers Slippery Elm Lozenges (Original) 1

Thayers

10
Sucrets Sore Throat Lozenges 1

Sucrets

Name

Original Extra-Strong Drops

Extra Strength Sore Throat and Cough

Soothing Throat Drops - Honey

Sore Throat Pops

Max Sore Throat Lozenges

Mint Flavor Herbal Drops

Sugar Free Cough Drops

Sugar-Free Diabetic Safe Lozenges

Slippery Elm Lozenges (Original)

Sore Throat Lozenges

Features

The Best Overall Non-Medicated Cough Drops

The Best Medicated Lozenges

Coat Your Throat with Natural Honey

A Honey Lollipop for Little Kids with Sore Throats

Strong and Medicated Sore Throat Relief

An Effective Herbal Remedy from the Far East

The Lowest-Calorie Throat Drop We Could Find

A Diabetic-Safe Cough and Throat Drop

An Old-Timey Recipe Many People Swear by

A Mildly-Medicated Throat Drop Easy to Carry around

Price$6.30$8.08$4.99$3.48$9.99$10.99$9.99$29.99$5.26$7.39
Amount40 lozenges16 lozenges20 drops10 pops15 lozenges32 drops70 drops per pack24 lozenges per pack42 lozenges18 lozenges
Main ingredientsMenthol, capsicum, dextrin, eucalyptus oil, natural licorice, sugar, tragacanthBenzocaine (7.5 mg), dextromethorphan hydrobromide (5 mg) Sugar, glucose syrup, honey, waterPectin, caramel color, corn syrup, honey, natural flavor, sucrose, waterBenzocaine (15mg), mentholJapanese honeysuckle, peppermint, star anise, licorice, jujube, chamomile, linden, marshmallow flower, other herbsMenthol, acesulfame potassium, corn starch, eucalyptus oil, othersMenthol, acesulfame potassium, eucalyptus, othersSlippery elm, corn-based sweetener, vegetable stearateDyclonine hydrochloride 2.0mg
FlavorMenthol (others available)Mixed berry (others available)HoneyHoneyWild berries (others available)Mint (others available)MentholCherry (others available)Original (others available)Wild cherry (others available)
Recommended forSore throat, cough, stuffy noseSore throat, coughSore throat, coughSore throat, coughSore throat, cough, stuffy noseSore throat, breath fresheningSore throat, stuffy noseSore throat, stuffy noseSore throat, coughSore throat
Ages5+6+5+3+6+N/A5+6+3+4+
Link

How to Choose Cough and Throat Drops - Buying Guide

As we mentioned earlier, cough and throat drops are only effective in the sense that they can provide temporary relief from some irritation related to having a cough. Let's look in more detail at some of the ingredients they use and what the actually do.

Choose Between Medicated or Non-Medicated Drops

Some cough drops are over-the-counter medications, such as Sucrets, Cepacol, and Chloraseptic. The vast majority of them, however, are either herbal remedies or sugary candy.

Medicated Drops Work Well for a Sore Throat

Medicated Drops Work Well for a Sore Throat

If your throat is sore, you can try a medicated drop that will suppress the pain. The anesthetics benzocaine or dyclonine hydrochloride can numb your throat for 60 minutes. As you might imagine, this is a kind of medicine that some people might abuse, so these often taste bad intentionally to prevent overdose.


Incidentally, capsicum, the non-medicinal ingredient in hot chili peppers, is used in Fisherman's Friend drops to cause temporary pain in your mouth so you forget about your sore throat. Weird, huh?

Medicated Drops are Not So Effective on Your Cough

Medicated Drops are Not So Effective on Your Cough

The antitussive medication used to suppress coughs which is available in OTC cough drops is dextromethorphan. It's derived from opioids, and increases seratonin. Although medications with this drug usually say they are safe for children, the effect of dextromethorphan on children has not widely been studied.


In addition, people who want to avoid opium-derivatives should not take these medications. In fact, studies have shown them to be no more effective than placebos (MacMillan, Amanda; Chemists Have Bad News About Your Cough Syrup; reported by CNN, Jan. 14, 2017) so there's really little reason to use them.

Many People Like Menthol for a Cough with Stuffy Nose

Many People Like Menthol for a Cough with Stuffy Nose

A lot of cough drops have menthol, and some contain eucalyptus too. Although these may make your throat and nasal passages feel cool, they don't actually clear your nose


The menthol irritates the mucous membrane in your nose and throat, making them more sensitive to airflow. So literally you are just feeling the air better, not breathing better! Regardless, if mentholated drops make your throat and nose feel relief, who really cares if it's just a trick on your brain?

The Vast Majority of Ingredients Work by Coating Your Throat

The Vast Majority of Ingredients Work by Coating Your Throat

That most annoying of coughs, the dry one that starts with a tickle at the back of your throat and ends with you teary-eyed, your throat raw and sore, is unfortunately very hard to treat. The best you can hope for in a cough drop is to coat your throat and try to prevent the tickle from getting a foothold- or, throathold.

The Vast Majority of Ingredients Work by Coating Your Throat

Honey is a great choice to provide a thick coating to reduce the chance of irritation. People also like to mention its antibacterial properties and say it's full of antioxidants, but none of that's really relevant for helping your cough.


A demulcent is a substance that relieves irritation of the mucous membranes by forming a protective film. Basically, you can ingest stuff that makes inside your mouth super slimy. Slippery elm bark contains mucilage, which is just as gross as it sounds, and many people find it incredibly effective.


Other sticky, coating ingredients commonly found in cough and throat drops are pectin from fruit, licorice extract, aniseed, and tree gum. The Asian herbal remedy we recommended, Ryukakusan, contains marshmallow for the same effect.

Choose Age-Appropriate Drops for Children

Choose Age-Appropriate Drops for Children

Aside from asking a doctor which medicated drops may be right for your child, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.


Children who are too young to eat without help should never be given cough drops. Cough drops can be a choking hazard because of their size, so monitor young children when they are sucking on them. A lollipop type is a safer alternative.


Many kids will simply chomp on a cough drop, thereby eliminating their effectiveness. And of course, kids will probably prefer candy-like fruit flavors to menthol or herbal varieties.

Cough Drops Can Have a Lot of Calories

Cough Drops Can Have a Lot of Calories

In fact, each lozenge usually has about 15 calories... which seems like it isn't too bad; but if you have a persistent cough and suck on a whole pack of cough drops a day, it can really add up! Sugar-free ones are available which contain artificial sweeteners, so look for those if you're dieting.

Consider the Packaging and Don't Overstock

Consider the Packaging and Don't Overstock

It may be tempting to buy a whole bunch of cough drops, and many Amazon offerings are 6-packs, 8-packs, and sometimes even whole cases! But trying to stock up is not the best idea. Cough drops don't have an infinite shelf life, and when they get stale, they'll stick together and feel wet and yucky in your mouth.


If you need to bring them everywhere with you, consider the packaging as well. Tins are small and dispense easily. Large packs are harder to deal with. Some come in blister packs, and others are individually wrapped.

We Can Help You Find the Best Health Products

Whether you're sick or trying to prevent getting there, we have lots of articles with product reviews and information to help you. Take a look at these.

Summary

Having a cough is no fun. If it goes on too long, of course, see a doctor. But if you feel like a cough drop would do the trick, remember to decide if you need a medicated one or not, choose the right ingredients, and keep them away from unsupervised children. We hope you feel better soon!


Author: Susan Lucier-Ogawa


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