The interrelatedness of chronic cough and chronic pain

Johnmary T. Arinze, Katia M.C. Verhamme, Annemarie I. Luik, Bruno Stricker, Joyce B.J. van Meurs, Guy G. Brusselle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Since chronic cough has common neurobiological mechanisms and pathophysiology with chronic pain, both clinical disorders might be interrelated. Hence, we examined the association between chronic cough and chronic pain in adult subjects in the Rotterdam Study, a large prospective population-based cohort study. Using a standardised questionnaire, chronic pain was defined as pain lasting up to 6 months and grouped into a frequency of weekly/monthly or daily pain. Chronic cough was described as daily coughing for at least 3 months duration. The longitudinal and cross-sectional associations were investigated bi-directionally. Of 7141 subjects in the study, 54% (n=3888) reported chronic pain at baseline. The co-prevalence of daily chronic pain and chronic cough was 4.4%. Chronic cough was more prevalent in subjects with daily and weekly/monthly chronic pain compared with those without chronic pain (13.8% and 10.3% versus 8.2%; p<0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, prevalent chronic pain was significantly associated with incident chronic cough (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.08–1.99). The association remained significant in subjects with daily chronic pain (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.06–2.11) with a similar effect estimate, albeit non-significant in those with weekly/monthly chronic pain (OR 1.43, 95% CI 0.98–2.10). After adjustment for covariables, subjects with chronic cough had a significant risk of developing chronic pain (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.02–2.62) compared with those without chronic cough. Chronic cough and chronic pain confer risk on each other among adult subjects, indicating that both conditions might share common risk factors and/or pathophysiologic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2002651
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conflict of interest: J.T. Arinze reports grants from MSD (doctoral research grant), outside the submitted work. K.M.C. Verhamme works for a research group who in the past received unconditional grants from Yamanouchi, Pfizer/ Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and GSK, none of which relate to the content of this work. A.I. Luik has nothing to disclose. B. Stricker has nothing to disclose. J.B.J. van Meurs has nothing to disclose. G.G. Brusselle reports personal fees from Astra Zeneca (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), Boehringer-Ingelheim (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), Chiesi (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), GlaxoSmithKline (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), Novartis (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), Sanofi (advisory boards) and Teva (advisory boards and speaker’s fees), and grants from MSD, outside the submitted work.

Funding Information:
Support statement: Supported by Merck Sharp and Dohme. Funding information for this article has been deposited with the Crossref Funder Registry.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © ERS 2021


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