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Common Cold Centre | A centre of excellence devoted to the development of new treatments for coughs, colds and hay fever.

About the Common Cold Centre


The Common Cold Centre was established in 1988 as an independent University based centre to conduct clinical trials on new treatments for common cold and flu. The Centre has two areas of operation; clinical trials and clinical research.

Dr Jawad, Medical Director with a patient. Each year the Centre recruits 2-3,000 patients with common cold for clinical trials and basic research

checking blood pressure

Clinical trials

The Common Cold Centre is known world wide as a centre of excellence for clinical trials on new treatments for common cold and flu. Each year the Centre is involved in clinical trials on a wide range of treatments such as decongestants[1-3], analgesics[4, 5], throat lozenges[6], antibiotics[7], cough medicines[8, 9] and various prophylactic treatments such as probiotics and herbal medicines. The Centre has two full time clinicians to conduct clinical assessments for clinical trials.

Clinical research

The Centre supports clinical researchers who are involved in research on the symptoms of upper airway disease. The research aims to provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology of symptoms such as cough[10] and nasal congestion[11]. Symptoms are measured by subjective and objective methods and research involves studies on the factors influencing the severity of the symptoms.


Cough associated with common cold is a very common symptom and there are a large number of medications available for the treatment of this irritating symptom. Research at the Centre has involved the development of new methods of measuring cough. One of the most important findings in our recent research has been that the standard cough medications, codeine and dextromethorphan, are no more effective than placebo treatment for cough associated with common cold[8, 12]. Much of the evidence for the antitussive activity of codeine and dextromethorphan comes from animal experiments and human studies involving chemically induced cough or cough associated with chronic respiratory disease. There is very little research on the effects of codeine and dextromethorphan on cough associated with common cold and our recent publications have stimulated a reassessment of the benefit of so-called ‘active ingredients’ in cough medications.

Nasal congestion

Nasal congestion is a disturbing symptom associated with both nasal infection and allergy. Research at the centre has involved the development of standardised methods of quantifying nasal congestion by objective and subjective measurement. Recent research has shown the efficacy of pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongestant in single and multiple doses[1] and in combination with paracetamol[2].


[1] Eccles R, Jawad MS, Jawad SS, Angello JT, Druce HM. Efficacy and safety of single and multiple doses of pseudoephedrine in the treatment of nasal congestion associated with common cold. Americn Journal of Rhinology. 2005 ;19:25-31.

[2] Eccles R, Jawad M, Jawad S, Ridge D, North M, Jones E, et al. Efficacy of a paracetamol-pseudoephedrine combination for treatment of nasal congestion and pain-related symptoms in upper respiratory tract infection. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2006;22:2411-2418.

[3] Eccles R. Substitution of phenylephrine for pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongeststant. An illogical way to control methamphetamine abuse. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2007;63:10-14.

[4] Eccles R, Loose I, Jawad M, Nyman L. Effects of acetylsalicylic acid on sore throat pain and other pain symptoms associated with acute upper respiratory tract infection. Pain Medicine 2003;4:118-124.

[5] Eccles R. Efficacy and safety of over-the-counter analgesics in the treatment of common cold and flu. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2006;31:309-19.

[6] Eccles R, Jawad MS, Morris S. The effects of oral administration of (-)-menthol on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation of airflow in subjects suffering from nasal congestion associated with the common cold. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 1990;42:652-654.

[7] Lund VJ, Grouin JM, Eccles R, Bouter C, Chabolle F. Efficacy of fusafungine in acute rhinopharyngitis: a pooled analysis. Rhinology. 2004;42:207-12.

[8] Lee PCL, Jawad MSM, Eccles R. Antitussive efficacy of dextromethorphan in cough associated with acute upper respiratory tract infection. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2000;52:1137-42.

[9] Eccles R. Mechanisms of the placebo effect of sweet cough syrups. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology. 2006;28;152:340-348.

[10] Eccles R. Acute cough: Epidemiology, mechanisms, and treatment. In: Redington AE, Morice AH, eds. Acute and Chronic Cough. New York: Marcel Dekker 2005:215-236.

[11] Clarke JD, Hopkins ML, Eccles R. How good are patients at determining which side of the nose is more obstructed? A study on the limits of discrimination of the subjective assessment of unilateral nasal obstruction. American Journal of Rhinology. 2006;20:20-24.

[12] Freestone C, Eccles R. Assessment of the antitussive efficacy of codeine in cough associated with common cold. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 1997;49:1045-1049.

Director of the Centre

Professor R. Eccles
Tel : 44-02920-874102
Fax: 44-02920-874093
Email : eccles(at)cardiff(dot)ac(dot)uk

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