Refractory Chronic Cough

Understanding Refractory Chronic Cough

Refractory chronic cough (RCC) is a persistent and persistent cough that doesn’t respond to medical treatment. It is a health issue that is caused by conditions that don’t respond to standard treatments, such as asthma, bronchitis, or recurrent infections. It can also be caused by conditions that are more difficult to diagnose, such as allergies to dust or pet dander, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or even cancer.

While not all cases are due to an underlying disease or disorder, RCC can cause extreme discomfort and distress that interferes with daily activities and can last for weeks, months, or even years. It is considered as a refractory condition, meaning that medical treatments may not be able to help fully resolve it.

Causes of Refractory Chronic Cough

The causes of refractory chronic cough are not always obvious. It is believed to be associated with underlying diseases and conditions, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Allergies to dust or pet dander
  • Recurrent infections
  • Esophageal reflux
  • Upper airway irritation
  • Lung cancer

Diagnosis and Treatment of Refractory Chronic Cough

In some cases, RCC may be mistaken for a common cold or the flu. To accurately diagnose the condition, medical history, physical examination, and additional tests are typically required. Tests may include pulmonary function tests, blood tests, imaging tests, sputum induction, and bronchoscopy.

Treatment of RCC may involve medications that contain codeine or other narcotic agents, such as hydrocodone, and/or inhalers, opioids, or steroids. In severe cases, other treatments may be recommended, such as IV fluid administration, changes in diet, and lifestyle modifications.

Managing Refractory Chronic Cough

In addition to medical treatment, there are lifestyle and environmental modifications that can also help manage refractory chronic cough. These may include avoiding potential irritants and allergens, staying hydrated, maintaining good nutrition, and avoiding triggers, such as dust, perfumes, smoke, or strong odors. Also, quitting smoking and being up to date on immunizations can help reduce the risk of recurrence.