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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003 Jul;4(7):1039-48.

Pharmacotherapy of chronic cough in adults.

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Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605-2324, USA.


Chronic cough is a debilitating symptom for which patients commonly seek medical attention. Among adult non-smokers who are not taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and have a normal or near normal chest radiograph, postnasal drip syndrome caused by a variety of rhinosinus conditions, asthma and non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease singly or in combination, are the most common diagnoses underlying chronic cough. Pharmacotherapy for chronic cough can be either specific or non-specific. Specific therapy is preferable and the most effective as it is directed at the aetiologies and pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for cough. In contrast, non-specific therapy is used only in limited clinical settings, as it is directed at the symptom rather than underlying aetiologies and aims only to control, rather than eliminate cough.

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