Characterization of Urge to Cough in Patients with the Common Cold: Results from a US Internet Survey
Monday, March 7, 2016
South Exhibit Hall H (Convention Center)
Peter Dicpinigaitis, MD, Howard M. Druce, MD FAAAAI, Ron Eccles, BSc, PhD, DSc, Ronald Turner, MD, Maryann Attah, MPH, Ashley L. Mann, MS
Rationale: Cough is typically thought to be a reflex, requiring primary afferent input to the brainstem, leading to reflex changes in respiration. Urge to cough represents an additional dimension, involving complex sensory and cognitive processes in higher brain centers. Individual experiences, perspectives, and management options for urge to cough were investigated.

Methods: An Internet survey exploring cough attributes in respondents who had contracted the common cold within the last 3 months was fielded in April 2015. Those with chronic cough were excluded. Demographics, urge to cough attributes and impact, and management choices were elicited.

Results: Of 19,530 screened, 2,708 met inclusion/exclusion criteria; 58% female; 85% white; 19% smoked tobacco; 8% used e-cigarettes. Urge to cough was experienced by 97.8% of respondents and was uncontrollable in 64%. Uncontrollability of urge to cough (62%), throat clearing (40.4%), and sore throat (35.6%) were the most bothersome aspects. Common triggers included talking, cold air, or changing position. Attempts to prevent/treat urge to cough occurred in 74.3%; over-the-counter (OTC) drugs/syrups or lozenges were at least somewhat effective in 83% and 78%, respectively. Prescriptions were used by 12.9%, and 89% felt they were “somewhat” or “very” effective. Healthcare provider (HCP) advice was elicited by 16% and received by 86%. Advice included prescription medications (66.5%), OTC medications (45.7%), herbal remedies (15.1%), and home remedies (12.6%); 96% followed HCP advice.

Conclusions: Urge to cough frequently accompanies the common cold. This Internet survey provided characterization of urge to cough attributes. Enhanced understanding of cough perception may lead to insights relevant to novel therapy.