What can I take for persistent uncontrolled coughing while taking chemo that won't make me sleepy?

4 answers | Last updated: Dec 06, 2015
A fellow caregiver asked...

While taking chemo, I have uncontroled coughing 24-7. What is causing it and how can I stop it with out taking meds that make me sleepy?

Expert Answers

Bruce A. Feinberg, MD, chief of the Georgia Cancer Specialists, is an oncologist and the author of Breast Cancer Answers and Colon Cancer Answers and a popular speaker on cancer-related topics.

There can be many different approaches to treating coughing depending on what's causing it. Coughing is a common problem among cancer patients and it may be related to the disease, the treatment, or both. The first thing to ask yourself is whether this is new onset coughing that started after you started treatment for cancer or whether it was present before you were diagnosed and began treatment. If it is new onset, it could represent a reaction to treatment or could indicate a progression of the disease, so it's important to talk to your doctor and describe your symptoms clearly. Explain in detail when the coughing began, how often it occurs, and what seems to help it or make it worse.


There are cough syrups that don't make you sleepy, but any medication can interact with chemotherapy drugs and other medications taken during cancer treatment, so you don't want to use an over-the-counter medication without talking to your doctor first.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Ask your doctor to give you a therapeutic Brach to remove your Muccus that perhaps accumulated along your trache or so. Best wishes,

Hempangel answered...

Take cannabis oil with the dreaded chemotherapy.You can eat and sleep with the cannabis oil.Myself i wouldn't even do the chemotherapy.I want to live and not be a vegetable for 6 months after chemo treatment and also have a good chance of having a heart attack from the use of chemo.All my friends who have been burned by chemo don't live very long after using the stuff anyway.Another thing these doctors don't work with the patients very good with cancer pain and or the treatments pain.Why in the world do we keep letting these people kill us?What are we a bunch of mice?The only thing keeping the public from using cannabis oil is the pot heads even though they are better than a bunch of drunks telling us what we can use.

Gods peace answered...

I started coughing after my second treatment. I just completed my 6th one and I am coughing even more. My oncologist says its from the chemo. I have have both types of chemo in the past and the coughing never happened before. He won't prescribe anything for me but after my PET scan next week. He is sending me to a lung specialist. This is my 5th relapse. I have been fighting over 13 years. Maybe my body has had enough. I just wanna stop this hacking cough.