Gabapentin may be effective chronic cough therapy

September 27, 2012

For patients with refractory chronic cough, gabapentin may be an effective treatment to help improve cough-specific quality of life, according to a study published in The Lancet.

Gabapentin may be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for patients with refractory chronic cough, according to a study published August 28 in The Lancet.

Over a 2-year period, Nicole M. Ryan, PhD, of The University of Newcastle and John Hunter Hospital in New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues recruited 62 adult patients with refractory chronic cough lasting longer than 8 weeks from the John Hunter Hospital respiratory outpatient clinic. Patients were randomly assigned to receive gabapentin (maximum tolerable daily dose of 1,800 mg) or matching placebo for 10 weeks.

The researchers noted that gabapentin significantly improved cough-specific quality of life compared with placebo. Ten patients (31%) experienced side effects, the most common being nausea and fatigue compared with three patients (10%) in the placebo group.

These positive effects suggest that central reflex sensitization is a relevant mechanism in refractory chronic cough, and that gabapentin might be an effective therapy, the authors wrote.