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On medication for HBP. Developed chronic dry cough. X-ray and MRI normal. Cause and cure?

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Practicing since : 1981
Answered : 922 Questions
Hi, my mother (52y, 180lbs, 5"00) has been suffering from high blood pressure for 20y. After successfully treating it naturally for years, she went back to medication in 2006. Since then she has been put on medication such Teneurotic, and right now Ramipril (tetrazide), Aldactone and baby aspirin.
However, she has developped an uncontrollable chronic dry cough that comes and goes. I did some research on Ramipril and saw it can cause dry cough. Last week she had a chest x-ray, mri, ct scna and lot of blood checks, all came back normal.
Do you know what can cause this severe uncontrollable dry cough? It isso hard to see her coughing, it is so violent that sometimes i feel like her lung and throat will be hurted or she is going to vomit her bowels.
Thank you very much
Wed, 2 Jan 2013 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 4 hours later
Hi there,
Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified and certified cardiologist and I read your mail with diligence.
Main issue here which is troubling her is dry cough without expectorant. I can appreciate the discomfort it causes her.
You are right on the point that Ramipril can cause dry cough (even any drug of the group ACE Inhibitor like Enalapril can cause the same). However, I do not see Ramipril or any similar drug in the current medicines she is taking. In your mail you have written Tetrazide as a trade name for Ramipril. I searched Canadian brand names for Ramipril I could not find the same name. In fact Altace is the commonest name I came across. Will you please clarify the situation for me. For if she is on Ramipril in any form, about 8% patients do get cough of varying severity and it should be substituted.
For a moment we ponder over the situation when she is not on Ramipril and has the kind of cough you described. Then the commonest cause will be long standing hypertension making the ventricular (heart's pumping chamber) wall thick and stiff. It will cause resistance to filling in relaxation phase. By that filling pressure of upper chamber of heart that is atrium will increase and so would be the case with pulmonary veins draining oxygenated blood from the lungs to left atrium then to left ventricle (which pumps blood to every organ of body). This situation is called diastolic dysfunction and causes rise in pulmonary venous pressure. That stimulates cough. An echocardiographic examination will be in order then. Cough here is mostly dry however it is associated with shortness of breath and occasionally red frothy sputum.
In both situations, as she is not bringing much expectorant, prescription drug codeine cough Syrup (it was OTC drug till recently) or similar cough suppressant available over the counter will definitely help. She has to continue drugs for other diseases she is suffering from.

I hope that answers your question. Good luck.
If you have any more query I will be most happy to answer it.
Dr Anil Grover,
Cardiologist & Internist
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: On medication for HBP. Developed chronic dry cough. X-ray and MRI normal. Cause and cure? 12 minutes later
Thanks doctor. Sorry, it was a typo. The drug name is Tritazide (French brand) which contains 10mg Ramipril and 12.5mg hydrochlorothyazide. She also take Aldactone 75mg and aspirin 81mg as well as Diamox 2000mg.
Before she used Teneurotic and was still coughing.
Her blood pressure is well controlled though. Today she did not take her Ramipril until we clarify on this and her numbers are 115/78.

Thank you again for replying
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 27 minutes later
Thanks for writing back and clarifying the main issue.
We have problem with Ramipril so this drug will have to be substituted. Usually this is substituted with ARBs (Receptor blocker drugs like losartan, telmisartan). Your doctor will happily prescribe a preparation of ramipril substitute and retaining the diuretic(hydrochorthiazide). Many such preparations are available, but prescribing the drug is the privilege of your own doctor. Good Luck.
Please do not hesitate to write back if there is a problem.
With Best Wishes.

Dr Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: On medication for HBP. Developed chronic dry cough. X-ray and MRI normal. Cause and cure? 5 hours later
Thank you very much doctor. We will discuss that with her cardiologist at her next appointment. For now she has stopped that Ramipril and only keep Aldactone and aspirin while still on no salt, low fat diet.

Thanks a lot Doctor

Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 17 minutes later
Thank you for your mail.
It was a pleasure interacting with you.
You may now close this query (if you have no further issue to discuss with me) with remarks and stars.


Anil Grover
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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