Corticosteroid Responsiveness Assessed in Patients with Chronic Cough

The most common presenting complaints included shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, and hoarseness.

The following article features coverage from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of MPR‘s conference coverage.

Nearly half of patients presenting with chronic cough responded favorably to treatment with oral corticosteroids (OCS), according to findings presented at the AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting.

Although common, chronic cough remains a difficult condition to treat due to symptom and duration variability. This analysis retrospectively identified patients who presented to a tertiary laryngology clinic with a chronic cough between January 2018 and December 2018.

Patient demographics, symptoms, and OCS and inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) responsiveness (which was assessed by cough improvement) were documented. Patient subjective satisfaction or dissatisfaction as well as percent reduction of coughing were used to assess cough improvement.

Of the total 37 patients who initiated OCS, 27 were included in the analysis; 14 of these patients completed a 14-day course of OCS and initiated ICS. The most common presenting complaints throughout the groups included shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, and hoarseness.

Findings of the analysis revealed that after completing the 14-day OCS treatment course, 11 patients (41%) were over 85% improved and satisfied, 7 patients (19%) were less than 85% improved but were satisfied, and 1 patient (3%) was less than 85% improved and unsatisfied. Four patients (11%) reported no improvement in cough.

Results also showed that 47% (n=18) of patients in the analysis exhibited satisfactory steroid response. Of these steroid-responsive patients, 78% (n=14) continued ICS use; 85% (n=12) reported being satisfied with control of their cough at the 3-month follow-up.

“Almost half of patients with a presenting complaint of chronic cough can be identified as steroid responsive with OCS and can be effectively treated with subsequent ICS,” the study authors concluded.


Richards HW, Santucci NM, Palmer A, Schindler J. Corticosteroids in the management of chronic cough: a retrospective analysis. Presented at: AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2021; Los Angeles, CA.