Cough serves a protective physiologic function as a vital defensive reflex preventing aspiration. However, exposure to viral infections or other triggers induces, in some individuals, a chronic cough (CC) that causes a significant symptomatic burden. Most cases of CC are due to conditions that respond to appropriate therapeutic trials (upper airway cough syndrome; asthma; reflux). Unfortunately, a significant subgroup of patients will have refractory CC, which does not respond to treatment of known underlying causes of CC. Currently, available therapeutic options for refractory CC are inadequate due to limited efficacy and frequently intolerable adverse effects. Current professional society guideline recommendations are discussed, and a promising pipeline of antitussive drugs in development is introduced, including purinergic 2X3 receptor antagonists, neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists, oral mixed ĸ-opioid receptor agonists/µ-opioid receptor antagonists, and voltage-gated sodium channel blockers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy