NYMC Faculty Publications


Trigger Reduction Prior to Systemic Drugs for Neurogenic Chronic Cough

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January 2019




OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: Neurogenic chronic cough typically presents as a postviral chronic cough, often with paroxysms of coughing preceded by a tickle sensation with multiple triggers and often recalcitrant to multiple treatments for reflux disease, sinus disease, and asthma. Current treatment uses neuromodulating agents with moderate success. Post nasal drainage and laryngopharyngeal reflux can be triggers in the setting of laryngopharyngeal hypersensitivity. Treatment will focus on trigger reduction using nasal toilet and a dietary regimen for laryngopharyngeal reflux. STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review of retrospective cohort studies METHODS: One-year retrospective review of new patients with cough (R05.0) excluding asthma, proton pump inhibitor response, and sinus or pulmonary disease. Cough severity index (CSI) and reflux symptom index (RSI) were evaluated initially and 6 weeks after trigger-reduction treatment using nasal saline irrigation, nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines, and a plant-based diet with alkaline water. RESULTS: Of 119 patients, 29 met the criteria. Using the six-point reduction (improvement) in RSI as an accepted response, 20 of 29 patients (68.9%, P = .0014) experienced a clinical response. Using reduction in RSI and CSI as a continuous variable to assess response, patients experienced a 10 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.75-13.2) and 10.9 (95% CI: 7.4-14.3) mean point reduction, respectively. The mean percent reduction in RSI following 6 weeks of treatment was 54.7% (95% CI: 41.5-68.0; P = .0001). These patients experienced a 59.8% (95% CI: 43.4-76.2; P = .0001) reduction in CSI. CONCLUSIONS: A trigger-reduction approach using nasal toilet and a plant-based diet in patients with neurogenic chronic cough prior to the initiation of systemic neuromodulating medications should be considered. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 129:198-202, 2019.