Results: Post-infectious cough pathogeneses are not known; nevertheless, inflammation, epithelial damages of upper and lower airways, increased mucus secretion, and an increased reactivity of airways can cause these coughs. Despite self-limitedness of these coughs, dextromethorphan, antihistamines, ipratropium bromide, and decongestant are usually prescribed for cure of these coughs. Conversely, antibiotics play no significant role in this regard. These coughs constitutessmaller percentage of chronic coughs and are primarily classified in subacute coughs.
Chinese herbal medicine has been commonly used in the treatment of postinfectious cough. The aim of this review is to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal medicine for postinfectious cough. An extensive search for RCTs was performed using multiple electronic databases, supplemented with a manual search. All studies included were confirmed with specific inclusion criteria. Methodological quality of each study was examined according to the Cochrane risk of bias assessment. Quality of evidence was evaluated using rating approach developed by GRADE working group. The literature search yielded 352 results, of which 12 RCTs satisfied the inclusion criteria, offering moderate-to-high levels of evidence. Methodological quality was considered high in three trials, while in the other nine studies the unclear risk of bias was in the majority. Findings suggested that, compared with western conventional medicine or placebo, Chinese herbal medicine could effectively improve core symptoms of postinfectious cough, act better and have earlier antitussive effect, and enhance patients' quality of life. No serious adverse event was reported.
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