There are limited ways to manage IPF cough and no approved treatment exists to address the cough directly. However, many have found partial relief with treatments developed for chronic cough such as over the counter medication and throat lozenges. Mucinex D, gum and hard candy have been reported to provide partial relief. Sometimes cough is cause by gastric reflux and in this case proton pump inhibitors can provide relief. Steroids, opioids, and neuro modulators (e.g. gabapentin) have been reported to provide relief but can be associated with unacceptable side effects. Some with IPF cough have even reported that dark chocolate helps alleviate their urge to cough.
Other techniques that people have used to manage their IPF cough is to limit exposure to uncomfortable environments where their cough draws attention, or avoid challenging social situations such as dining at restaurants, traveling by plane or attending indoor events. In severe situations, if a patient is required to operate outside the comfort of their home, many with IPF cough have found relief in carrying a pillow to lessen the forceful burden of the cough on their body. Although many patients report less or no coughing while sleeping, others experience difficulty resting or sleeping due to IPF cough. For those patients, some have found partial relief by elevating their pillow, such as stacking two on top of one another, or utilizing a wedge-shaped pillow to elevate their head.
Additionally, pulmonary rehabilitation professionals may be able to provide strategies for effective cough management.
Currently there is a trial ongoing for the potential treatment of IPF cough. If you are interested in learning more about potentially participating, click here for additional information.
See “What are common triggers of IPF cough” for suggestions on avoiding common triggers of IPF cough.