In severe cases a doctor may prescribe codeine
or other similar narcotic medications, which are effective as
The following are treatments for chronic cough caused by medications,
conditions, or diseases.
Asthma: Inhaled bronchodilators and inhaled steroids are given to
decrease inflammation of the airways, and reduce wheezing. In some cases, short-term oral steroids are
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Treatment includes avoiding foods that increase
reflux, avoiding meals before lying down, elevating the head while sleeping, and
taking medication such as famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet),
ranitidine (Zantac) omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC), lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid 24-Hour), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), esomeprazole (Nexium) to decrease stomach acidity.
Sinus problems and postnasal drip: Use of decongestants such as
pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
may improve symptoms of
post nasal drip. Inhaled nasal steroids are very
effective in treating allergic rhinitis (hay fever), a common cause of cough.
Additionally, other nasal inhalers like
ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) can
relieve post nasal drip. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cause is
determined to be sinusitis.
Infections:Bacterial pneumonia and bronchitis are typically treated with
antibiotics such as cephalosporins,
azithromycin (Zithromax), and other
antibiotics. If the
pneumonia is close to the chest wall inflammation of the surface of the lung can
cause pain, known as
pleurisy and pain relievers (analgesics) can be helpful. Cough suppressants
are used with caution in these situations because clearing the lung of the
infected mucus by coughing helps clear the infection. Most bronchitis in adults
is caused by viral infections. Therefore, treatment is much the same as that of the
common cold including rest, fluids, pain
relievers, and humidification. Some people
find expectorant cough medicines containing guaifenesin helpful in alleviating
their discomfort. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate a
viral bronchitis from
a bacterial bronchitis, and antibiotics are prescribed. In some cases,
asthmatics can produce green mucus that looks infected. Your doctor can have the
mucus examined to determine if an infection is present.
Medications: Patients with chronic cough who are taking blood pressure medicines called ACE
(angiotensin converting enzyme), for example, enalapril (Vasotec),
lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), etc.
should talk to their doctor about switching medications. Patients should not
stop taking medicine on their own because a marked elevation in blood pressure can
result from discontinuation. A newer generation of ACE inhibitor like medicines
called ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers),
(for example, valsartan [Diovan],
losartan [Cozaar], etc.) can be alternatives that have less potential to cause chronic coughing. There are a
host of other medicines available to manage blood pressure.