Chronic cough with more than one cause

Imran Satia

Imran Satia, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology, at McMaster University.

Sometimes we hear that in many patients, chronic cough has more than a single cause. Is this situation common or clinically important?

Thank you very much. That’s an important point because you’re absolutely right that in all of the clinical trials and studies that we’ve been looking at, there are 3 conditions that are very commonly associated with chronic cough.

The first thing is asthma, and this is ~20% to 30%; reflux disease, which is also 20% to 30%; and nasal disease, which is slightly less, but ~20% to 25%. They can occur individually as single diseases, but there’s also evidence that they can be combined with each of those conditions. So you can have 2 or even 3 conditions. The evidence from the clinical trials suggests that in ~10% of people with chronic cough, all 3 conditions are present, so this is a common issue.

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