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The financial burden of treating patients presenting with acute and chronic cough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Surinder S. Birring, Craig J. Currie, Sarah E. Holden, Sara Jenkins-Jones, Ellen R. Berni, Bethan Jones, Thomas R. Berni, Haya Langerman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2175-2184
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number12
Accepted/In press2021
Published2 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was funded by MSD, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA. The funders played a role in study design, interpretation of results, decision to publish and preparation of the manuscript. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Objective: Coughing is a common symptom and responsible for a large number of healthcare visits. This study aimed to characterize healthcare resource use and associated financial costs in people with acute or chronic cough. Methods: A retrospective cohort study using routine data from the UK National Health Service. Adults (≥18 years) were selected if they had a cough record between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015 and were classified by duration. Results: A cohort of 150,231 patients was identified, of whom 12,513 (8.3%) had chronic cough, 38,599 (25.7%) had an acute cough with more than one cough event, and 99,119 (66.0%) had acute cough with one event in the study year. Resource use and combined costs of all healthcare contacts differed between cough groups. The healthcare cost per person-year in patients with a single record of acute cough was £739; for those with chronic cough, the cost was £3,663. Conclusions: Patients with cough represented a substantial financial burden to the NHS. It was difficult to discern the specific portion of treatment associated with cough itself. However, people with chronic cough were associated with substantially increased healthcare use and costs than were those with acute cough.

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