HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessNew drug could be a ‘game-changer’ for those with chronic coughs

New drug could be a ‘game-changer’ for those with chronic coughs


A new drug designed to ease chronic coughs could be a “game-changer” for the thousands of Britons who struggle with chronic coughing each day.

Professor Surinder Birring of King’s College Hospital in London, has led a global trial that found Gefapixant reduces a person’s coughing by up to 60 per cent, with 70 per cent of those who take it saying it offers relief.

If approved, the experimental drug would be the first new treatment in more than 50 years to alleviate the debilitating condition, which affects thousands of people throughout the UK.

“If Gefapixant becomes available it could be a game-changer in respiratory medicine,” Birring told The Guardian.

“It’s a very effective treatment that works in most patients with chronic cough. It was found to be safe and effective in the clinical trial. It’s a major advance in the field of cough.”

Prof Birring oversaw two international trials involving the drug, in 20 and 17 countries respectively, and involving over 2,000 patients.

“We found that there was a 60 per cent reduction in cough frequency with Gefapixant,” he said.

“People slept better, had fewer chest pains, were less tired and better able to go about their lives. It led to a clinically significant improvement in their quality of life in around 70 per cent of patients receiving Gefapixant. It’s very good news for patients.”

Persistent coughing can impact sleep

(Getty Images)

A persistent cough can be caused by a long-term respiratory tract infection, such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, an allergy, smoking, certain prescribed medication, such as an ACE inhibitor, or bronchiectasis.

On rare occasions, a persistent cough can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as lung cancer, tuberculosis, a pulmonary embolism (blood clot on the lung), or heart failure, according to the NHS.

A chronic, or persistent, cough can be wet or dry, and is defined as one that lasts for more than eight weeks.

The condition can have a significant impact on an individual’s social life and mental health, with persistent coughing often disrupting a person’s sleep.

Gefapixant has been approved in Switzerland and Japan and is already in use in both countries. Before UK patients could access the drug, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would need to licence it.

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