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A throat lozenge (cough drop, troche, cachou, or cough sweet) is a small, sometimes medicated tablet intended to be dissolved slowly in the mouth to temporarily stop coughs and lubricate and soothe irritated tissues of the throat (usually due to a sore throat), possibly from the common cold or influenza. Cough tablets have taken the name lozenge, based on their original shape, a diamond.
Lozenges may contain benzocaine, an anaesthetic, or eucalyptus oil. Non-menthol throat lozenges generally use either zinc gluconate glycine or pectin as an oral demulcent. Several brands of throat lozenges contain dextromethorphan.
Candies to soothe the throat date back to 1000 BC in Egypt's Twentieth Dynasty, when they were made from honey flavored with citrus, herbs, and spices. In the 19th century, physicians discovered morphine and heroin, which suppress coughing at its source—the brain. Popular formulations of that era included Smith Brothers Cough Drops, first advertised in 1852, and Luden's, created in 1879. Concern over the risk of opioid dependence led to the development of alternative medications.