Chronic Cough Treatment
The treatment for a cough focuses on treating the underlying cause, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, COPD or asthma. In most cases, a cough should not be treated unless it interrupts sleep. A cough is a natural mechanism that the body uses to clear mucus and from the air passageways. In some cases, treatment for wheezing can greatly reduce the cough. Humidified air may also reduce a cough that is worsened by exposure to dry air.
Treatment for a cough may include:
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid exposure to secondary smoke.
- Inhaled medications for wheezing:
- Oral corticosteroids:
- Humidified air:
- Antibiotics for bronchitis or pneumonia
- Cough medicine
For more information:
Chronic Cough Cough Medicine
There is little evidence that cough medicines help adults stop coughing.
For a dry, hacking cough, try a cough suppressant that contains dextromethorphan. Dextromethorphan can be purchased without a prescription (Robitussin-DM), or in combination with decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers (Robitussin Cough and Cold Formula, Robitussin-CF). Many commercial cough and cold products contain dextromethorphan. Carefully follow the instructions on the label.
|110 lb (50 kg)||25 mg every 6-8 hours|
|132 lb-adult (60 kg)||30 mg every 6-8 hours|
Chronic Cough Precautions
Cough medication precautions:
- A cough that produces mucus can aid healing by expelling infected material. Suppressing this type of cough may reduce your body's ability to fight off the infection.
- Cough medicines can cause sleepiness and interact with alcohol, sedatives, and some antidepressants.
- Cough medicines should be used with caution in those with asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, and prostate enlargement.
- Cough suppressants can make you sleepy or dizzy. This is especially true with prescription cough medicines.
- Follow product package instructions.
- Those with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may need to cough frequently to clear mucus. Cough suppressants may make the illness worse.
Chronic Cough Expectorants
A cough that is producing excessive mucus may respond to an expectorant, such as guaifenesin. Expectorants thin the mucus, making it easier to cough up phlegm from the lungs.
Chronic Cough Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat this condition:
Continue to Chronic Cough Home Care
- Chang AB, Asher MI. A review of cough in children. J Asthma. 2001 Jun;38(4):299-309. 
- Irwin RS, Curley FJ. The treatment of cough. A comprehensive review. Chest. 1991 Jun;99(6):1477-84. 
- Schroeder K, Fahey T. Should we advise parents to administer over the counter cough medicines for acute cough? Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Arch Dis Child. 2002 Mar;86(3):170-5. 
- Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ. 2002 Feb 9;324(7333):329-31.