How best to measure cough clinically

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015 Jun;22:37-40. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Mar 25.


It is possible to measure cough by assessing its severity, frequency, intensity, associated urge and its impact on quality of life. Cough severity can simply be assessed with a Visual Analogue Scale. Cough frequency can be assessed objectively with cough frequency monitors. Validated cough monitors include the Leicester Cough Monitor and the VitaloJAK. Cough reflex sensitivity measurement is better used to investigate the mechanisms of action of antitussive medications, rather than assessing efficacy. Health-Related Quality of Life measures are available to assess the impact of cough; they include the validated Leicester Cough Questionnaire and Cough-specific Quality of Life Questionnaire for adult patients. It is best to assess cough with a combination of subjective and objective tools, to capture its wide-ranging impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitussive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cough / diagnosis*
  • Cough / drug therapy
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Antitussive Agents