In patients who meet the clinical profile predicting that silent GERD is the likely cause of chronic cough or in patients with chronic cough who also have prominent upper GI symptoms consistent with GERD, an empiric trial of medical antireflux therapy is recommended.
Level of evidence, low; benefit, substantial; grade of recommendation, B
For treating the majority of patients with chronic cough due to GERD, the following medical therapies are recommended: (a) dietary and lifestyle modifications; (b) acid suppression therapy; and (c) the addition of proki-netic therapy either initially or if there is no response to the first two therapies. The response to these therapies should be assessed within 1 to 3 months. Level of evidence, expert opinion; benefit, substantial; grade of recommendation, E/A
In patients in which this empiric treatment fails, it cannot be assumed that GERD has been ruled out as a cause of chronic cough; rather, the objective investigation for GERD is then recommended because the empiric therapy may not have been intensive enough or medical therapy may have failed. Level of evidence, expert opinion; benefit, substantial; grade of recommendation, E/A Link
In some patients, cough due to GERD will favorably respond to acid suppression therapy alone; proton pump inhibition may be effective when H2-antagonism has been ineffective; prokinetic therapy and diet, when added to proton pump inhibition, may be effective when proton pump inhibition alone has been ineffective. Level of evidence, low; benefit, substantial; grade of recommendation, B
Patients requiring an intensive medical treatment regimen should be treated with the following: (a) antireflux diet that includes no > 45 g of fat in 24 h and no coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, mints, citrus products, including tomatoes, or alcohol, no smoking, and limiting vigorous exercise that will increase intra-abdominal pressure; (b) acid suppression with a PPI; (c) prokinetic therapy; and (d) efforts to mitigate the influences of comorbid diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea or therapy for comorbid conditions (eg, nitrates, progesterone, and calcium channel blockers) whenever possible. Level of evidence, expert opinion; benefit, substantial; grade of recommendation, E/A