How to Treat Dry Cough

Flu and cold season…so not fun for anyone!  Along with all the worry with flu shots and swine flu, we still have to deal with the common cold.  One of the biggest symptoms people complain about is a dry, irritating super annoying cough.

Well, there *may* be hope yet because there is a new over the counter (OTC) drug on the horizon that will treat dry cough.

Dry cough can range from the super dry hacking cough to the ultra annoying constant “clearing of the throat” cough. 

There are a few drugs that can treat in a round-about way…such as antihistamines and decongestants.  These meds can help treat some of the issues that can lead to a dry cough.

Cough suppressants (antitussives) work to directly treat dry cough by blocking the cough reflex. 

Currently, the only OTC cough suppressant on the market is dextromethorphan (Delsym, Robitussin caps).  Combination products such as Mucinex DM, Robitussin DM and Nyquil also contain dextromethorphan. 

So, what is this all about the new drug?  It is called Clofera (chlophedianol and pseudoephedrine) and it has a decongestant and “new” cough suppressant. 

The reason I say chlophedianol is “new” is because it was actually approved back in the early 1960s.  It has been marketed in Canada, UK and Japan for quite a while but is now just being released on the US market. 

So the good news is that there may be two options to treat dry cough…the bad news is that neither one has really been proven to work very well. 

When the drug rep first came by and spoke to me about the new drug, I was psyched –then I looked into it a bit further.  I searched for studies on the new drug but could only find ones conducted on rabbits (!) 

I contacted the company (Centrix) but to no avail.  Although very nice, the only study (published in English) they were aware of was the aforementioned rabbit study –odd!

After more searching, I did find some more studies.  The studies concluded that chlophedianol and dextromethorphan, at best, worked a tad better than a placebo –not good!

I contacted the FDA and they said, as of yet -they have not approved the drug for the US market.

Truth be told, even knowing this –when I am sick to the gills, I still take my dextromethorphan (and keep my fingers crossed).

Best OTC treatment for dry cough : an antihistamine (Claritin –loratadine; Zyrtec –cetirizine; Benadryl –diphenhydramine) + menthol cough drops + gargling with warm salt water (3 times a day) + tea with honey and lemon…you can always add dextromethorphan or chlophedianol –you may be able to *trick* your body into thinking it is working (aka placebo effect).

  • The antihistamine helps treat post-nasal drip that often leads to irritated throat and coughing
  • Menthol cough drops -just work super well! (suck don’t chew! :))
  • Warm salt water and tea with honey and lemon –help soothe the irritated throat and decrease the cough

If your cough is seriously affecting your quality of life –ask you doctor for hydromet (generic) or Tussionex (brand only).  Both drugs have a codeine derivative (codeine is a really good cough suppressant).  But take care because it can make you tired and loopy.    

I hope this helps you feel better –go take a steamy shower and have a cup of tea! 🙂 -always helps…even if you don’t have a dry cough!  If you want to read about an awesome home remedy for dry cough? READ HERE!

Please leave a comment below about your thoughts on the article or if you have any home remedies!


  1. looking for a good cough suppressant for my 29 year old daughter who is suffering with the latter stages of a bad cold….a hacking cough day and night. interrupts her sleep as well as her work during the day. Buckleys is supposed to be the best, but I cant find it…Everyone is out of stock (here in Statesboro, GA, and in Atlanta, GA. where she lives). This article helped me shop (her in Atlanta and me at home in Statesboro, both on phones) in Walgreens for the most effective of what’s available. (Thank you!!!) She says the cough is the worst part of this cold she has had for a week!!! tHANKS FOR THE ARTICLE!!!

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