LIFESTYLE

Persistent Cough Patients Given Hope With Trial Of New Pill

'We have started to see real progress in this area.'

14/06/2016 13:00

A new pill is being trialled which could help people who suffer from a persistent cough. 

The drug, which is called AF-219, works by blocking receptors in the throat nerve that trigger the cough reflex. 

The results of a pre-clinical health study from last year found that cough frequency among patients taking the pill was reduced by 75%.

If the new drug is approved, it would be made available to patients in the space of three years.

White Packert via Getty Images

Roughly 15% of Britons suffer from a persistent and unexplained cough.

According to the NHS, a persistent cough can be caused by: a longterm respiratory tract infection, asthma, allergies, smoking, postnasal drip, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or even prescribed medicine such as ACE inhibitors which treat high blood pressure. 

The new clinical trial by researchers at Manchester University will examine the effectiveness of the pill AF-219 on 200 patients, who have a chronic cough (lasting longer than eight weeks).

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The patients have been specially selected as they have not responded to other medication.

They will take the pill twice a day.

Jacky Smith, professor of respiratory medicine at Manchester University, told The Times: "We are just beginning to understand how the nerves in the airways are involved in pathologic cough such as chronic cough.

"With recent developments in the technology to effectively measure coughs and this important new drug, we have started to see real progress in this area."

If the pill is approved following the new trial, it would be the first new cough treatment to hit pharmacy shelves in 50 years.

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