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Drug-Induced Cough

Mikaela Millan


October 28, 2021
CoughPro is not a medical product. It is a wellness app intended only for users to obtain a better understanding of their cough. It is not intended to diagnose, monitor, or treat any illness.

We at Hyfe, Inc., are a company devoted to working on tools to better understand the importance of cough. It is Hyfe’s intention in the future to seek regulatory approval for medical products that analyze cough in order that they may be used to diagnose, monitor, and facilitate better treatment of respiratory illnesses.

A sick man wrapped in a blanket taking medications

A cough is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the clinic. But did you know viruses and bacteria are not the only agents that can cause cough? And that some medications can also make you cough? In other words, you could have a drug-induced cough.

Suppose a cough develops after taking certain drugs and resolves a few weeks after you stop taking them. In that case, your doctor might suspect a drug-induced cough. This is especially likely if you have a chronic cough or cough that lasts for more than eight weeks. In this article, we will learn more about how some drugs can actually lead to cough and what you can do about it.

What Types of Drugs Induce Cough?

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) are the most common culprit. People take these drugs to treat problems with the heart and metabolism. It works by having an antihypertensive effect and lowering the harmful effects of diseases like coronary heart disease, heart failure, and diabetes. Unfortunately, although ACE-Is are very useful in the successful treatment of these serious conditions, ⅕ of patients tend to stop taking these drugs because of their side effects, particularly cough. 

How this drug causes cough is still unclear, but research points to some form of hypersensitivity reaction. Researchers noticed people with ACE-I-induced cough have hyperreactivity of the airways, increased sensitivity of the airway nerve fibers, and increased cough reflex sensitivity. All of these are ripe conditions for an ACE-I-induced cough. Other hypotheses speculate certain enzymes in the airway accumulate when taking ACE-I, thus causing your cough. However, not all people who take ACE-I will develop a cough. These findings suggest there are many factors contributing to how and why this cough occurs in the population. 

General features of ACE Inhibitor-induced cough

A woman sneezing

ACE-I-induced cough can develop a few hours after taking your first dose, or possibly weeks or months later. Females and non-smokers are more likely to have ACE-I cough. Here are some of the general features to watch out for in case you think you may have a drug-induced cough:

  • Begins within one week of starting your therapy but can be delayed up to six months
  • Tickling, scratchy, or itchy throat
  • Resolves within four days of discontinuing treatment but may take up to four weeks
  • It recurs when you take the same drug or another ACE-I
  • More common in women, especially Chinese
  • It does not occur more often in asthmatics than in non-asthmatics

Get Treated for Drug-Induced Cough

Your doctor will most likely recommend that you stop taking the drug and switch to another medication. You must consult your doctor when you experience a drug-induced cough to avoid any complications. When you cough, there is an increase in the pressure and velocity of the air in your lungs. While this is great because it is the mechanism that helps you clear your throat of any obstructions, it can also lead to complications. Some of these include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Self-consciousness
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Urinary incontinence

With all these complications and in this time of COVID-19, your health is truly your wealth. Can you imagine how a drug-induced cough would impact your daily life? That could mean disruptions in your daily routine, sleep, work, and even leisure activities. Because of this, you should definitely prioritize seeking treatment from your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Your Cough Matters

Based on our results in Google Play & App Store
  • Excellent, insightful
    By dust mite dan - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    This app is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and has provided me with useful information about my cough and disease patterns that have improved my overall health!

    Try CoughPro for Free
  • Great app!
    by Imtfx0019 — Dec 6, 2022 - App Store
    Impressed with how well it detected my coughs, even very slight ones.
    Try CoughPro for Free
  • App is Great!
    by HBert Quach — Jan 22, 2023, - Google Play
    App is great at tracking cough when little ones are sick. I treat it as a early warning indicator before the cold gets back. Customer service is awesome, they actually respond to all my questions.
    Try CoughPro for Free
  • Great Experience
    by Christi Hammock — Mar 7, 2023, - Google Play

    I had an issue logging into the new app but I contacted the support team and they were awesome in helping me figure out the issue. It turned out to be a technical issue which they resolved very quickly and I was kept in the loop on the status from start to finish. This app is really helpful when talking to my doctor too..
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  • Impressive app
    By KayakTina - Apr 7, 2023 - App Store
    "The app accurately is recording my coughs with excellent ways to review the results. I can add notes to help me identify patterns or have accurate information for my physicians. I’ve hoped for an app like this for years to help me accurately track the amount of coughing I’m doing"
    Try CoughPro for Free
  • Accurate count of coughs
    by Beardonna — Mar 8, 2023 - App Store

    Just installed the app. Very accurate measuring coughs so far! Cannot wait to see how much coughing I do while sleeping. I'll have a better picture to discuss with my physician at my next visit.

    Try CoughPro for Free

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