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Regenstrief Institute and Merck & Co., Inc. conducted the first study to qualitatively describe primary care providers’ experience evaluating and treating chronic cough.  

Chronic cough affects 10 percent of adults and is one of the most common reasons for primary care visits. Researchers surveyed 15 providers on their definition of chronic cough, how they evaluate the condition and look for causes, how they decide which treatment approach to take, and how they continue to manage the condition.  

The study revealed a lack of knowledge and low use of guidelines related to chronic cough. Instead, providers relied on experience and education from residency training. Participants expressed confidence in identifying the cause, but uncertainty about the exact definition of chronic cough. Participants wanted additional resources for treatment, including better access to specialists and testing.  

The authors suggest that future research focus on the use of chronic cough guidelines among a larger group of providers, as well as how better access to or coordination with specialists might help patients.  

Regenstrief Institute and Merck have been working on a number of chronic cough projects, including an effort to use natural language processing to identify patients with the condition to enhance research.  

Management of Chronic Cough in Adult Primary Care: A Qualitative Study” is published as a letter to the editor in Lung. The research was supported by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA. 

Authors from Regenstrief are Taylor Gowan; Monica Huffman; Michael Weiner, M.D., MPH; Tasneem L. Talib, PhD, M.S.; Ashley Griffith and Paul Dexter, M.D. Authors from Merck are Jonathan Schelfhout, PhD; Jessica Weaver, PhD, MPH; Ishita Doshi, MPH and Vishal Bali, PhD.  

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