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Clinical Trial
. 2005 Feb;19(2):231-3.
doi: 10.1096/fj.04-1990fje. Epub 2004 Nov 17.

Theobromine Inhibits Sensory Nerve Activation and Cough

Clinical Trial

Theobromine Inhibits Sensory Nerve Activation and Cough

Omar S Usmani et al. FASEB J. .

Erratum in

  • FASEB J. 2005 Feb;19(2):1 p following 233


Cough is a common and protective reflex, but persistent coughing is debilitating and impairs quality of life. Antitussive treatment using opioids is limited by unacceptable side effects, and there is a great need for more effective remedies. The present study demonstrates that theobromine, a methylxanthine derivative present in cocoa, effectively inhibits citric acid-induced cough in guinea-pigs in vivo. Furthermore, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in man, theobromine suppresses capsaicin-induced cough with no adverse effects. We also demonstrate that theobromine directly inhibits capsaicin-induced sensory nerve depolarization of guinea-pig and human vagus nerve suggestive of an inhibitory effect on afferent nerve activation. These data indicate the actions of theobromine appear to be peripherally mediated. We conclude theobromine is a novel and promising treatment, which may form the basis for a new class of antitussive drugs.

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