Medications that treat a severe cough include cough suppressants, acid blockers, antibiotics, antihistamines and decongestants, and inhaled asthma drugs, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors determine the underlying cause before prescribing medications. These medications require a careful approach with children as they may not be effective for a nonspecific cough. In some cases, treating the underlying condition helps to relieve a severe cough.
Doctors recommend antihistamines and decongestants to treat postnasal drip and allergies, says Mayo Clinic. Inhaled asthma drugs help in widening the airways and reducing inflammation, so they are effective medications for an asthma-related cough. Patients take antibiotics if the cause of a cough is a bacterial infection. Using acid blockers helps to treat acid reflux that can be the cause of a severe cough. Doctors prescribe cough suppressants in cases for which they cannot identify the cause of a cough; however, there is no evidence to substantiate their effectiveness.
The common causes of a severe cough include gastroesophageal reflux disease, sinus problems and postnasal drip, asthma, cigarette smoking and infections such as pneumonia, says MedicineNet. In some rare cases, foreign objects obstructing the airways may also lead to a severe cough. Certain medications, such as AHE inhibitors for high blood pressure, can lead to a chronic cough.