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Clinical experience with low-dose itraconazole in chronic idiopathic cough.

Cough 2013
BACKGROUND: The presence of basidiomycetous (BM) fungi in induced sputum is an important clinical finding in chronic idiopathic cough (CIC). However, the efficacy of anti-fungal therapy for CIC has not been evaluated.

METHODS: We selected 10 patients with CIC and carried out allergological examinations for Bjerkandera adusta, a BM fungus that has been shown to enhance cough severity. The efficacy of low-dose itraconazole (ITCZ) therapy (50 mg/day) for 14 days as an adjunctive therapy was estimated with use of Cough Visual Analog Scale (Cough VAS) and the Japanese version of the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (J-LCQ). We evaluated whether there was a recognizable clinical or allergological pattern that could predict the efficacy of ITCZ therapy in CIC patients.

RESULTS: Significant changes in Cough VAS and minimal important difference in domains of the J-LCQ were observed in 3 and 5 CIC patients, respectively. The Δ cough scale was correlated with changes in domains of the J-LCQ (total (r = -0.73, P < 0.05), psychological (r = -0.73, P < 0.05), and social (r = -0.71, P < 0.05), respectively. There were significant differences in the change in total score (P < 0.05) and in the domain of social (P < 0.05) and Δ cough scale (P < 0.05) between positive and negative results of immediate skin test for B. adusta. Positive results for improvement of cough-related laryngeal sensation which was represented as a sensation of mucus in the throat (SMIT) were observed in 6 patients in the BM colonization-positive group (85.7%) and none in the BM colonization-negative group (0%). There was a significant difference in the positive ratio for improvement of SMIT between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: At present, it is not possible to conclude whether ITCZ therapy provides sufficient relief in CIC patients. However, this study suggested both the possible applicability of low-dose ITCZ therapy for treatment of CIC patients with regard to BM allergy and the necessity of development of a new assessment questionnaire for cough-related laryngeal sensations.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: UMIN-CTR (reference number R000005872; UMIN000004933).

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