Article Abstract

Recent additions in the treatment of cough

Authors: Nicole M. Ryan, Peter G. Gibson


Background: Worldwide, cough is regarded as a challenging clinical problem due to its frequency and often limited therapeutic options. Chronic cough that remains refractory to usual medical treatment causes significant quality of life impairment in people with this problem.
Methods: We have examined current evidence on recent additions in the treatment of cough, specifically treatment of refractory chronic cough with speech pathology and gabapentin. Relevant randomised control trials, reviews and case reports were identified through a PubMed and SCOPUS search of English-language literature referring to these concepts over the last eight years.
Summary: Of the one hundred and two articles comprising this review the majority investigated the role of the transient receptor potential (TRP) receptors TRP Vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and TRPA1 in cough and the potential of TRP antagonists as effective anti-tussives. However, these have only been tested in the laboratory and therefore their clinical effectiveness is unknown.

Behavioural treatments such as speech pathology have gained momentum and this was evident in the increasing number of articles investigating its positive effect on cough.

Investigation on the effectiveness of neuromodulating medications in the treatment of cough have been supported primarily through case series reports and prospective reviews however; their use (particularly gabapentin) has been significantly advanced through recently conducted randomised controlled trials.
Conclusions: Recent additions in the treatment of chronic cough have been significant as they consider cough to have a unifying diagnosis of cough hypersensitivity with or without the presence of a neuropathic basis. Primarily, effective treatments for chronic cough target these areas and include behavioural treatment such as speech pathology and pharmaceutical treatment with neuromodulating medications such as gabapentin.