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How Can You Find Terpin Hydrate Cough Medicine?

Terpin hydrate cough medicine is not found in regular drugstores, but a compounding pharmacy can make some for you.

Some old-fashioned medicines have maintained their popularity for decades. Just think of Vicks VapoRub, Listerine or Preparation H as examples. Those venerable brands have all survived to hold their spots on today’s drugstore shelves. The manufacturers have reformulated them in some cases. But what about another old-time favorite, terpin hydrate cough medicine?

Where Can You Find Cough Medicine from Long Ago?

Q. I took terpin hydrate as a kid many years ago. It really worked to calm a nasty cough. I haven’t found anything recently that works as well. Can you tell me where to purchase it?

A. Terpin hydrate was a popular cough medicine from the 1880s till the 1990s. That’s when the FDA decided there was not enough evidence of effectiveness. As a result, it pretty much disappeared from drugstore shelves.

Like you, other many people miss this old-fashioned remedy derived from natural sources such as eucalyptus, oregano, thyme or turpentine. Although this medicine is no longer available off the shelf, doctors can prescribe it and compounding pharmacies can prepare it.

In addition, there are natural approaches for calming a cough. You can read about them in our eGuide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu.

What Is Terpin Hydrate Cough Medicine?

Q. I am an asthmatic. When I was a child and young adult, terpin hydrate was the only cough medicine that could calm my coughing spells. This medicine saved my life more than once!

Over-the-counter cough meds simply do not work for me. I now have a severe cough and several brands of cough relief meds have been completely ineffective.

I’ve been looking for terpin hydrate, but my pharmacy does not carry it. Could you please advise?

A. Terpin hydrate cough medicine was popular for more than a century, from the 1880s till the 1990s. This expectorant was created from ingredients in thyme, oregano or eucalyptus. It was also manufactured from the resin of pine trees (oil of turpentine).

In the 1990s the FDA determined that there was not enough evidence of effectiveness and the compound was effectively banned. Many other readers have asked how to locate this old-fashioned remedy.

Cough Medicine from a Compounding Pharmacy:

You can still obtain terpin hydrate from a compounding pharmacy. To locate one in your area, search IACPRX.org. You will need a prescription from your physician, however, as this cough medicine is not available over the counter.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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