To identify the medications general practitioners consider for the treatment of persistent isolated cough, we undertook a postal questionnaire survey of a sample of general practitioners in east London. Fewer than 10% indicated that they never prescribed for such cough. About 70% sometimes considered antibiotics and/or bronchodilators in all age groups. Inhaled steroids and cromoglycate were considered by about 30% of prescribers for infants compared with over 60% for older age groups. As yet there is no evidence that medication is beneficial for persistent isolated cough. The role of asthma drugs for children with this symptom needs to be evaluated so that we can better identify those who are likely to benefit.