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New pill dramatically cuts coughing frequency

New pill dramatically cuts coughing frequency

A new pill that reduced cough frequency by 75 per cent could be available within two to three years, experts have revealed.

A clinical trial led by Manchester University in the U.K. looked into a twice-a-day tablet to treat coughs, known as AF-219. It's the first medication designed to the treat the issue in 50 years, and works by blocking receptors on the throat nerve which set off the cough reflex. As a result, the cough response is muted.

In the trial, 24 patients who took the pill for two weeks saw their cough reduced by 75 per cent as reported in Lancet journal last year (15), whereas a previous study which looked into dextromethorphan, found in products like Benylin, only reduced the frequency by 12 per cent.

A second study of 29 people found a low dose of AF-219 for four days made the cough frequency drop by 54 per cent, as explained at the American Thoracic Society in May (16).

"Some people have a persistent tickly cough caused by sensitivity of the cough nerve," study leader Professor Jaclyn Smith, of the Centre for Respiratory Medicine and Allergy at Manchester University, said.

"We have shown real progress in being able to stop that. We plan to start looking at people with normal coughs as well."

Next up on the testing schedule is trials for those suffering with terminal lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which affects 35,000 in Britain and sees scarring on the lungs. This trial of 200 people, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, is expected to find even more positive results with individuals taking the tablets for 12 weeks.

AF-219 is currently being developed by small U.S. company Afferent Pharmaceuticals and in time its hoped the drug will be available to people suffering from the common cold.

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