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Gabapentin Efficacious for Refractory Chronic Cough

Improved cough-specific quality of life for patients treated with 10 weeks of gabapentin

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with refractory chronic cough, treatment with gabapentin is associated with improved cough-specific quality of life and is well-tolerated, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in The Lancet.

Nicole M. Ryan, Ph.D., from The University of Newcastle in Australia, and colleagues examined the efficacy of gabapentin for 62 patients with refractory chronic cough seen at an outpatient clinic in Australia. Participants with refractory chronic cough of more than eight weeks' duration, without active respiratory disease or infection, were randomized to gabapentin (32 patients) or matching placebo (30 patients) for 10 weeks.

The researchers found that, compared with placebo, gabapentin significantly improved cough-specific quality of life (between-group difference in Leicester cough questionnaire score during treatment period, 1.80; P = 0.004). Thirty-one percent of gabapentin-treated patients experienced side effects, most commonly nausea and fatigue, as did 10 percent of placebo-treated patients.

"The treatment of refractory chronic cough with gabapentin is both effective and well tolerated," the authors write. "These positive effects suggest that central reflex sensitization is a relevant mechanism in refractory chronic cough."

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