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Is steroid or Benzonatate safe for treatment of chronic cough?

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Posted on Thu, 6 Mar 2014
Question: Hi doctor! I have a bad cold and cough for 2 months with a lot of mucus (white). I have been on antibiotic for 10 days, took Guefenesin ac w\codeine for 5 days but the cough persists. My friend told me to take steroid or Benzonatate to stop the cough. Should I take one of those drug or just ignore the cough?? Thanks Doctor XXXXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (30 minutes later)
Brief Answer: different causes of chronic cough Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic There are different classifications of cough, when a cough last 2 months or more however, it is called chronic (persistent) cough. In medicine ,we have found that there are 3 main causes of chronic cough. Most persons with this longstanding cough fit into one of these categories. (1) post nasal drip. This is the most common of the 3 causes. Persons may not be aware of mucus dripping at the back of the throat but it can occur causing a persisting cough with it.In persons who have the cough but no other symptoms- it is called the silent drip. This is treated with the use of topical nasal steroid sprays such as nasonex, flonase, rhinocort, beconase. (2) GERD - acid reflux can also cause persistent cough with or without other symptoms. This is treated with lifestyle changes and medications (prevacid, protinex, nexium, prilosec). Lifestyle changes include using small meals, avoiding spicy/acidic/fatty/fried foods (3) cough associated with asthma There are other causes that are not as common such as chronic bronchitis (if there is a history of smoking) , side effect of medications such as ACE inhibitors, lung cancer. You may want to consider the use of the topical nasal spray to see if this has an effect. A prescription from your doctor may be needed but you can ask at your local pharmacy. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the effect to be seen. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James (24 minutes later)
Thank you Doctor. I have been taking lung Xtray and blood test. My Xtray was fine but my tb blood test turn out positive (I am Southeast Asian). Can you give me advise about should I take any strong medications like steroid, Benzonatate or just use nasal spray?? Thank you for your answer. I think my cough just as part of a bad cold. The mucus from my nostril and my throat. But the cough keeping me a wake at night so I am very depressed. Please! should I just live with it or take something very strong like Benzonatate or Prednisone as my family doctor asked me to?? Is this worth to risk my health with those harmful medicine?? Thanks a lo Thanks XXXX
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (10 hours later)
Brief Answer: you can consider using Detailed Answer: HI Sorry about the late reply. Short term use of a oral steroid such as prednisolone would not have any significant adverse effects. If it is used for only a short period, its benefits would be greater than the risks. Side effects mainly come into play for used for prolonged periods. You can consider using as your doctor suggested The topical nasal steroid spray can be used with this. It would not be absorbed into your system and would just have an effect on the sinuses. Please feel free to ask any thing else
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16811 Questions

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Is steroid or Benzonatate safe for treatment of chronic cough?

Brief Answer: different causes of chronic cough Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic There are different classifications of cough, when a cough last 2 months or more however, it is called chronic (persistent) cough. In medicine ,we have found that there are 3 main causes of chronic cough. Most persons with this longstanding cough fit into one of these categories. (1) post nasal drip. This is the most common of the 3 causes. Persons may not be aware of mucus dripping at the back of the throat but it can occur causing a persisting cough with it.In persons who have the cough but no other symptoms- it is called the silent drip. This is treated with the use of topical nasal steroid sprays such as nasonex, flonase, rhinocort, beconase. (2) GERD - acid reflux can also cause persistent cough with or without other symptoms. This is treated with lifestyle changes and medications (prevacid, protinex, nexium, prilosec). Lifestyle changes include using small meals, avoiding spicy/acidic/fatty/fried foods (3) cough associated with asthma There are other causes that are not as common such as chronic bronchitis (if there is a history of smoking) , side effect of medications such as ACE inhibitors, lung cancer. You may want to consider the use of the topical nasal spray to see if this has an effect. A prescription from your doctor may be needed but you can ask at your local pharmacy. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the effect to be seen. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions