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Syrups and other medicinal preparations that contain some form of sugar are popular with the public (because sweet things taste nice), but are less popular with practitioners, who hesitate to contribute to health problems such as dental decay, cardiovascular disease and late-onset diabetes by adding to a diet that may already be overburdened with refined carbohydrates. These two opposing forces have to be balanced – some of the benefits of syrups and the like will become apparent as we go on, suggesting that despite our concerns, a small range of sweet medicines, perhaps designed for very short-term therapeutic strategies anyway, are a worthy component of a comprehensive approach to prescribing.

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