The Treatment of Cough (1)We have previously critically reviewed the effects of clinically useful drugs on cough that reflected the literature through 1984. The purpose of this communication is to update our current understanding of this subject. The older portions of this review have previously been published. birth control yasmin
Since cough can serve a variety of functions, the treatment of cough could theoretically vary, depending upon which function one is trying to modify. Among the functions that cough can serve are as an indicator of an underlying illness and as a defense mechanism. As an indicator of an underlying condition, cough is one of the most common reasons people seek medical treatment. Although the act of coughing itself has previously been reported to cause a variety of musculoskeletal, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and central nervous system complications, we have recently determined that these were not the most common or troublesome reasons for which patients with chronic cough (ie, greater than three weeks’ duration) sought medical attention (Table 1). These previously unreported data were prospectively collected, using a questionnaire designed to determine why patients with chronic cough sought medical attention, during a study involving 108 consecutive and unselected patients.

Table 1—Reasons Why Patients with Chronic Cough Seek Medical Attention

Reason Frequency,percent MostTroublesome,percent
Somethings wrong 98 12
Exhaustion 57 17
Self-conscious 55 10
Insomnia 45 4
Life-style change 45 12
Musculoskeletal pain 44 3
Hoarseness 43 2
Excessive perspiration 42 1
Urinary incontinencet 39 9
Dizziness 38 0
Fear of cancer 33 11
Headache 32 3
Fear of AIDS or tuberculosis 28 11
Retching 21 4
Vomiting 18 1
Nausea 16 0
Anorexia 15 0
Syncope or near syncope 5 1