A New Drug Shows Promise In Reducing Chronic Cough Symptoms

A New Drug Shows Promise In Reducing Chronic Cough Symptoms

Ten percent or more of the global adult population suffers with chronic cough, a disease that may be both debilitating and difficult to live with. For this condition, the cough must persist for at least eight weeks and have no clear origin. A chronic cough may have negative effects on a person’s physical and mental health, make it difficult to do routine tasks, and lower overall quality of life. Opioids and anti-inflammatory medicines are used to treat persistent cough, but they are not FDA-approved and have dangerous adverse effects.
Gefapixant, a new medication, shows promise as an innovative and effective treatment for persistent cough. Gefapixant is a P2X3 antagonist, a family of medications that prevents coughing by inhibiting the P2X3 receptor on cough-inducing neurons. P2X3 receptors are expressed in the respiratory tract and are triggered by environmental irritants such smoke, dust, and allergens. Gefapixant decreases the desire to cough by blocking the receptors responsible for the cough reflex.

Refractory chronic cough (RCC) is a subset of chronic cough that does not improve with standard therapy, therefore more than 2,000 individuals with RCC participated in two major phase 3 clinical studies of gefapixant. Patients were given either gefapixant (15 mg or 45 mg twice day) or a placebo for 12 or 24 weeks. Average hourly cough frequency was tracked from the beginning of the study through weeks 12 and 24.

In all studies, gefapixant was superior than placebo in reducing cough frequency and intensity. The decrease was more noticeable at the higher gefapixant dosage (45 mg) compared to the lower dose (15 mg). The medicine was generally well-liked and only caused mild adverse effects including dysgeusia (an abnormal change in taste) and nausea. Researchers believe gefapixant is a promising therapy for RCC and are waiting for it to be licensed by authorities so it may be made accessible to patients.


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