Cough-Variant Bronchial Asthma: Symptoms and Treatment

Civilization brings humanity not only good, but also specific diseases, which virtually do not exist in countries with “primitive” way of life. A prime example is a cough-variant asthma, causing attacks of unproductive (not bringing relief), dry cough. Cough-variant asthma is quite difficult to diagnose, related symptoms are usually not observed. An attack can happen at any time, day or night, by physical exercise, under influence of cold air, dust or strong odor.


What is a cough? Most often sharp, involuntary release of air from lungs and airways. This is a kind of body protection, an attempt to get rid of an irritating factor – mechanical (accumulation of sputum, foreign objects), thermal or chemical. As a symptom cough may be a sign of a large number of diseases of different etiology, and to cure them it is necessary to properly identify the cause. In this case, there is no one reason, usually, cough-variant asthma manifests itself as a result of the combination of several contributing factors:

  1. a negative impact of a polluted environment;
  2. professional activity;
  3. genetic predisposition;
  4. allergy;
  5. viral infections;
  6. chronic inflammatory nasopharynx disease;
  7. bad habits (smoking, alcohol) consumption;
  8. response to certain types of drugs;
  9. stress.


Asthma manifests itself in forced, heavy breathing, wheezing and whistling in the chest, cough attacks – dry or productive. Cough-variant asthma is named by a single symptom, others, confirming asthma, were not found.

Especially characteristic are attack occurrence at night, early in the morning just after waking up. A cough is usually intrusive, long-lasting. Exacerbation periods alternate with periods of rest, without any asthma manifestations.

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If you suspect cough-variant asthma, specialist appoints examination: laboratory tests, fluorography, X-rays of chest and sinuses, ECG (what is it?) to exclude heart abnormalities. To confirm or deny diagnosis provocative spirometry with methacholine load can be performed. Inhaled during test methacholine causes spasms and airway lumen constriction. If lungs working capacity is reduced by 20%, the test is considered positive. Another method of diagnosis – anti-asthmatic drugs. If after receiving them attack disappears, then the diagnosis is correct.

It should be noted that quite often attacks cause remains unknown, all of these cases are combined in one group named “an idiopathic cough”.


For this disease traditional remedies are not effective, cough-variant asthma treatment requires deep knowledge and regular medical treatment. It is impossible to buy any asthma inhaler that expands bronchial tubes in a pharmacy, each case can have individual characteristics. Name of the recommended drug or combination of several drugs, dosage, and frequency of application – each of these moments can vary according to patient’s age and weight category, gender, disease course.

At cough-variant asthma usually a number of means are prescribed, some of which can relieve disease symptoms and stop a attack, others – remove inflammation. Symptomatic drugs are often produced in the form of inhalers, introducing medication directly into bronchi and eliminating unnecessary impact on the rest of internal organs and systems.

For the convenience of use there were created several types of inhalers:

  • Container with pump, activated by pressing. Its main drawback is difficulties with simultaneous pressing and inhalation that is easily corrected by using a special mask – spacer (small reservoir, which creates additional volume).
  • Aerosol inhaler with drug dosing, which is activated by your own breath.
  • Powder drugs inhalers (multidosed, reservoirs, capsules).
  • Nebulizers – machines that transform liquid medication into a gas state, then it easily gets into patient’s respiratory system.
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The most effective of anti-asthmatic agents are beta2-agonists – short or long-acting bronchodilators, rapidly relieving cough-variant asthma symptoms. The most popular of them are Salbutamol and Berotec, essential for complex treatment and affecting only necessary types of bronchial receptors, without affecting other tissues. This is the main difference between modern preparations and outdated ones (Novodrin, Asthmopent).

asthma inhalersIn case of beta2-agonists intolerance, anticholinergic drugs such as Atrovent are usually prescribed. Their disadvantage is a long period of therapeutic effect onset from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

There are combined means that unite two groups, such as Flomax (Berotec and Atrovent).

Eufillin refers to short-acting drugs that are used for quick relief. Unfortunately, this means has a whole list of adverse reactions and can interact with other drugs of the same group.

Systemic hormonal drugs in pills or injectable solutions are applied in courses from 3 to 10 days. For relieving acute phase special formula is used – “short course – high dose”.


It is necessary to timely treat any disease, avoid frequent interactions with potential allergens (dust, animal hair, exhaust gases). If there already were cases of asthma in the family, you need to provide special attention to your health. It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk, but you can reduce the possibility of disease appearance. Even if the diagnosis has been made, do not give up. Proper treatment, permanent medical supervision, healthy diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle – these are components of success.