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A Drug That Might Relieve Chronic Cough

Cough is the fifth most common complaint seen in the medical office accounting for 30 million office visits annually. Chronic cough is considered a disease of the lungs, organs and tissues of the respiratory tract and upper // part of the digestive tract, or even psychiatric in nature. The common treatments are successful for a great majority of patients with chronic cough.

A seizure drug may be the answer to quieting a chronic cough, say researchers based on findings from a new study researchers believe symptoms of chronic cough may be a sign of sensory neuropathy, or a disorder of the sensory nervous system. With this in mind, they thought patients with chronic cough may benefit from a drug traditionally used to prevent seizures or stop nerve pain.

Twenty-eight patients suspected to have sensory neuropathy of the larynx were instructed to begin with 100 milligrams of the anti-seizure drug gabapentin (Neurontin) per day and to increase to 900 milligrams a day over four weeks. Treatment length varied from three months to four years depending on the persistence of symptoms. The rate of overall improvement of cough and sensory neuropathy using the drug was 68 percent. Only five patients complained of dizziness and drowsiness as side effects, and no permanent side effects of the drug were noted.

Researchers conclude saying the use of this drug is a new treatment strategy that appears to be effective in treating this difficult patient population who can not clear their chronic cough.

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