New pill could help patients with persistent cough


A new pill to help people who suffer from a persistent cough is being trialled in the UK.

The drug, AF-219, would be the first new cough treatment in 50 years if approved.

Researchers at Manchester University hope to help the 15% of Britons said to suffer an unexplained cough.

The clinical trial involving 200 patients, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, will examine the effectiveness of the pill on patients with chronic coughs - those that last more than eight weeks - that do not respond to medication.

AF-219 works by blocking receptors in the throat nerve that trigger the cough reflex. It is taken twice daily and could be available within three years if the trial is successful.

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."

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