Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Evaluation Treatment cough medicine precautions expectorants specialist Home Care cough in adults cough in children warning signs Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Productive 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:

For more information:

Productive 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.

Dosing Dextromethorphan

110 lb (50 kg)25 mg every 6-8 hours
132 lb-adult (60 kg)30 mg every 6-8 hours

Productive Cough Precautions

Cough medication precautions:

Productive 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.

Productive Cough Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat this condition:

Continue to Productive Cough Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Productive Cough References
  1. Chang AB, Asher MI. A review of cough in children. J Asthma. 2001 Jun;38(4):299-309. [11456383]
  2. Irwin RS, Curley FJ. The treatment of cough. A comprehensive review. Chest. 1991 Jun;99(6):1477-84. [2036833]
  3. 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. [11861232]
  4. 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. [11834560]
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