Drugs that suppress the cough reflex.
Indicated for nonproductive cough. Work peripherally by reducing sensory receptor activation or centrally by depressing ‘cough centre’ in medulla.
• opioid antitussives – (codeine, hydrocodone) – these reduce sensitivity of ‘cough centre’ by elevating sensory threshold; codeine is more potent than hydrocodone
• non-opioid antitussives – benzonatate (local anaesthetic that is used to decrease sensitivity of respiratory stretch receptors); dextromethorphan (acts in CNS)
• benzocaine – topical local anaesthetic administrated as a spray