Chronic cough is common and has a significant impact on the wellbeing of patients and the use and cost of health care services. Traditionally the approach to chronic cough in patients who are nonsmokers and are not taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor has focused on the diagnosis and management of the upper airway cough syndrome, asthma, and reflux disease. The evaluation of patients with chronic cough frequently involves trials of empiric therapy for these 3 conditions. Chronic cough may be perpetuated by abnormalities of the cough reflex and sensitization of its afferent and central components.
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