Long-term follow-up of amitriptyline treatment for idiopathic cough

Marisa A. Ryan, Seth M. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: To evaluate short- and long-term treatment outcomes of amitriptyline for idiopathic cough. Study Design: Retrospective chart review and anonymous survey of a patient cohort. Methods: We evaluated a cohort of adults treated for cough at the Duke Voice Care Center with amitriptyline over a 2- to 3-year period. We characterized demographics, symptoms, treatment variability, and treatment effects from chart review and survey responses. We performed univariate analysis comparing cough improvement to age, gender, symptoms of throat irritation, cough duration, concurrent speech therapy, and dosage. Results: Eighty-nine percent were taking the medication at the first clinical follow-up at a mean 2.6 months, and overall, 67% reported ≥50% improvement. No statistically significant predictors of cough improvement with medication were identified. At follow-up 2 to 3 years later, overall, 53% reported ≥50% improvement, with only 34% of patients still taking amitriptyline. After 2 to 3 years, 65% of patients had titrated the medication to effect, and 33% restarted the medication. Occurrence of side effects was the most frequent reason for stopping the medication. Conclusions: Amitriptyline can be an effective and well-tolerated part of short- and long-term management of idiopathic cough in adults. Titrating the dose and restarting are often necessary. Larger studies and randomized control trials are needed to better understand the outcomes of using amitriptyline to treat idiopathic cough. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 126:2758–2763, 2016.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2758-2763
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Idiopathic cough
  • amitriptyline
  • neurogenic cough
  • neuromodulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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