A cough is a common symptom of asthma. It is when the only symptom of asthma is a cough, that it is known as cough variant asthma (CVA). The cough is non-productive and chronic. Those with CVA differ from those who have typical asthma. Patients with this type of asthma have a more sensitive cough reflex. They also have a lesser reaction to methacholine challenge testing. Knowing about the different cough variant asthma treatment methods available will benefit patients needing treatment or a change in their treatment plan.
Albuterol is commonly prescribed for this type of asthma. Bronchodilators help the patient breath easier by opening up his or her airways. This type of medication is also used in the prevention and treatment of bronchospasms. This medication is inhaled orally. Since each patient is different, it is important to follow your doctor’s dosage instructions exactly.
Before using bronchodilators, it is important to tell your doctor about any other medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures, allergic reactions, breast-feeding, irregular heartbeat or heart disease, pheochromocytoma, thyroid disease and pregnancy.
Common side effects may include cough, headache, upset stomach, irritated throat, difficulty sleeping, trembling or nervousness, runny or stuffy nose, or unusual taste. Serious side effects may include an allergic reaction, chest pain, high blood pressure, fever, vomiting, breathing problems, falling or feeling faint or lightheaded, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness or cramping, and numbness/tingling/pain in the feet or hands. Serious side effects may require emergency medical attention.
There are also associated drug interactions. These may include anti-infectives like pentamidine and chloroquine, cisapride, cold medications, weight loss medications and supplements, certain antibiotics, steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, caffeine, diuretics, depression or psychotic medications, methadone, certain heart medications and theophylline.
Inhaled steroids are often prescribed when bronchodilators fail to be an effective cough variant asthma treatment. This type of medication is the most powerful anti-inflammatory available for treating asthma. This type of medication is often effective in relieving chronic cough.
Common side effects may include irritation or burning in the throat or nose, headache, cough, and unusual smell or taste. Serious side effects may include allergic reaction, flu-like symptoms, sores or white patches in the nose or mouth, vision changes, and sores or nose bleeding. Serious side effects may require emergency medical attention.
Before using steroids, it is important to tell your doctor about any other medical conditions. These include cataracts, infection, taking an oral corticosteroid, pregnancy, glaucoma, recent injury or surgery of the sinuses or nose, breast-feeding and allergic reactions.
There are also associated drug interactions. These may include ketoconazole, certain HIV medications, metyrapone and vaccines.
WebMD. (2009). Cough-Variant Asthma. Retrieved on February 15, 2011 from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/cough-variant-asthma
MacNaughton, K. (2009). Understanding Cough Variant Asthma. Retrieved on February 15, 2011 from HealthCentral: https://www.healthcentral.com/asthma/c/962/57857/understanding-variant