Benzonatate for opioid-resistant cough in advanced cancer.
Doona M. Walsh D.
Palliative Care Programme (a World Health Organization Demonstration Project, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Chronic cough is a distressing symptom experienced by approximately 37% of patients with advanced cancer. Palliation of chronic nonproductive cough should always first address the underlying cause but in some patients chronic, nonproductive cough persists and antitussive agents are required. Opioids are the gold standard cough suppressants, of which codeine is the most widely used; patients with an opioid-resistant cough often prove to be a therapeutic challenge. We report three patients with an opioid-resistant cough who achieved symptomatic relief with the peripherally acting nonopioid drug benzonatate.