Chronic cough is a debilitating symptom for which patients commonly seek medical attention. Among adult non-smokers who are not taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and have a normal or near normal chest radiograph, postnasal drip syndrome caused by a variety of rhinosinus conditions, asthma and non-asthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease singly or in combination, are the most common diagnoses underlying chronic cough. Pharmacotherapy for chronic cough can be either specific or non-specific. Specific therapy is preferable and the most effective as it is directed at the aetiologies and pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for cough. In contrast, non-specific therapy is used only in limited clinical settings, as it is directed at the symptom rather than underlying aetiologies and aims only to control, rather than eliminate cough.