In addition to cough suppressants such as codeine, over-the-counter medicines, steam inhalation and cough lozenges can provide symptomatic relief for chronic cough, according to MedicineNet. The treatment of a chronic cough depends on the causative factors, such as asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sinusitis and infections.
A chronic cough caused by asthma is treated using bronchodilators and steroids in inhaler form to reduce the wheezing and airway inflammation, states MedicineNet. Short-term oral corticosteroids are also prescribed sometimes. In the case of cough related to gastroesophageal reflux disease, the use of medications such as Pepcid, Cimetidine or Rantac is helpful, as is not eating a meal immediately before going to sleep. Sleeping with the head elevated is also known to help.
For a chronic cough caused by an inflamed sinus or postnasal drip, decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or diphenhydramine are prescribed, according to MedicineNet. In the case of allergic rhinitis, inhaling nasal steroids helps to provide relief from the cough. For infections such as bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics such as Azithromycin and Cephalosporins are prescribed. If the bronchitis is caused by a viral infection, pain relievers, humidification, fluids and rest are prescribed along with cough expectorants such as Guaifenesin.
If the cause of the chronic cough cannot be determined, a cough suppressant is usually prescribed by the physician, especially if the cough prevents the patient from getting any sleep, states Mayo Clinic. Natural remedies include drinking warm water with a teaspoon of honey to loosen the sputum.