GERD is another common cause of cough, and the most difficult to exclude. 5 Look for a history of reflux or heartburn and positional coughing, and have a low threshold for beginning empiric therapy. Indeed, according to the 2006 American College of Chest Physicians Cough Guideline Committee, 5,6 should a patient arrive in your clinic with a chronic cough and a normal chest radiograph who does not smoke and is not on an ACE inhibitor, then you should start empiric reflux therapy. Begin with lifestyle changes, acid suppression, and prokinetics. The cough may take 1 to 2 months before it begins to improve, and even longer to resolve.
Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. The Merck Manual was first published in 1899 as a service to the community. The legacy of this great resource continues as the Merck Manual in the US and Canada and the MSD Manual outside of North America. Learn more about our commitment to Global Medical Knowledge.