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Cough, an unresolved problem in interstitial lung diseases

van Manen, Mirjam J.G.; Wijsenbeek, Marlies S.

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2019 - Volume 13 - Issue 3 - p 143–151
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000447
RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS: Edited by Sam H. Ahmedzai and Magnus Ekström

Purpose of review Many patients with interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), especially fibrotic ILDs, experience chronic cough. Cough has a major impact on wellbeing, affecting both physical and psychological aspects of life. The pathophysiology of cough in ILDs is poorly understood and currently no good antitussive therapy exists.

Recent findings Research on cough in ILDs is increasing. A recent proof-of-concept study with nebulized sodium cromoglycate for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)-related cough showed a promising effect on cough. Observational data suggest that antifibrotic pirfenidone might reduce cough in IPF. Studies on the effect of acid inhibition on cough in ILDs show contradicting results.

Summary The first steps in analyzing new treatment options for chronic cough in patients with ILDs, especially in IPF, have been taken, but an effective treatment is still lacking.

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Correspondence to Marlies S. Wijsenbeek, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 10 7034855; e-mail:

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