Long-term Safety of Nebulized Lidocaine for Adults With Difficult-to-Control Chronic Cough: A Case Series

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The long-term safety of patient-administered nebulized lidocaine for control of chronic cough has not been established.


We performed a retrospective study of adults who received a prescription and nurse education for nebulized lidocaine for chronic cough between 2002 and 2007. A survey questionnaire inquiring about adverse reactions and the effectiveness of nebulized lidocaine was developed and administered to these individuals after the nebulized lidocaine trial. We conducted two mailings and a postmailing phone follow-up to nonresponders. When adverse events were reported in the questionnaire response, a structured phone interview was conducted to obtain additional details.


Of 165 eligible patients, 99 (60%) responded to the survey. Responders were a median age of 62 years (range, 29-87 years); 77 (79%) were women, and 80 (82%) were white. The median duration of cough was 5 years before treatment with nebulized lidocaine. Of the patients who used nebulized lidocaine (93% of survey responders), 43% reported an adverse event. However, none of these events required an emergency visit, hospitalization, or antibiotic therapy for aspiration pneumonia. The mean (SD) of the pretreatment cough severity score was 8.4 (1.6) and posttreatment was 5.9 (3.4) (P< .001). Of the patients reporting improvement in cough symptoms (49%), 80% reported improvement within the first 2 weeks.


Adults tolerated self-administration of nebulized lidocaine for difficult-to-control chronic cough. No serious adverse effects occurred while providing symptomatic control in 49% of patients.

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