When I go to bed at night, I often have terrible coughing fits that prevent me from sleeping. This is why I occasionally take cough syrup. As long as I don’t overdo it, do you think this is a good idea?
It is a well-known fact that coughing is a constant symptom in cystic fibrosis. The reflex is usually triggered by the presence of an abnormal quantity of secretions in the bronchial passages. In this context, it is a useful and necessary reflex for eliminating these secretions (and the bacteria they contain). Therefore, most of the time it is better not to suppress the coughing. However, coughing may also be triggered by other stimuli in other parts of the respiratory system, throat or larynx, such as foreign bodies, blood or inflammation. Consequently, sometimes it is appropriate to suppress coughing with medication. This is the case when a cough is caused by “over-irritation” of the airway. It is also best to suppress a cough when there is bleeding in the bronchi (hemoptysis), so as not to aggravate the bleeding. Medications include cough suppressants, which calm the cough reflex. They consist mainly of narcotics such as codeine and dextromethorphan (DM), and are taken in syrup or in tablet form. Coughing can be caused by bronchial hyperreactivity related to inflammation from asthma. When this is the case, anti-inflammatories such as Pulmicort and Flovent in the corticosteroid class are very useful for keeping the cough under control. Finally, if the cough is due to an episode of bronchial infection, it may be necessary to adjust the antibiotic treatment. If the cough is frequent and causes discomfort, it is important to discuss this with your physician in order to determine its exact cause and find the appropriate treatment.