The most common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) are cough and shortness of breathCoughing is associated with a wide variety of other diseases and conditions that range from the common cold to serious lung disease, making it a symptom that doesn’t necessarily indicate a PF diagnosis. However, a dry persistent cough that accompanies other key pulmonary fibrosis symptoms is often an indicator of the disease and requires palliative treatment and care.

In any health setting, a cough is prompted by irritated nerve endings in the airways. In most situations cough results from excess mucous or infection, but the characteristic dry cough of PF can be caused by the increase of scar tissue in the lungs, post-nasal drip, and even gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Coughing can become chronic and is typically progressive in pulmonary fibrosis. Intense coughing spells can comprise the clinical features of an acute exacerbation — with coughing and flu-like symptoms intensifying shortness of breath.

How is cough treated in pulmonary fibrosis?

Treating cough in pulmonary fibrosis is considered palliative care (aimed to soothe symptoms) and often calls for many of the same standard therapies used to treat acute cough in other health conditions.

Physicians can prescribe from a wide range of therapeutics that include benzonatate, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and over-the-counter remedies such as cough drops. Prescription narcotics, nebulized lidocaine, amitriptyline, gabapentin, and baclofen are also prescribed to control cough in PF patients. Hypnosis is considered an alternative treatment strategy.

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. http://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/life-with-pf/about-pf
  2. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cough/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094133/
  4. https://www.nationaljewish.org/participation-program-for-pulmonary-fibrosis/community/blog/participation-program-for-pulmonary-fibrosis/january-2014/cough-in-pulmonary-fibrosis

 

Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
Total Posts: 110
Patrícia holds her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has been focused on molecular genetic traits of infectious agents such as viruses and parasites.
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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