A forum for people who suffer from chronic or persistent coughs to share ideas... these don't have any sort of official approval so you try any of them out at your own risk. I've consigned some of the more unusual ones I received to the Oddities bin on the left. I've also listed very simple remedies separately. If you're a sufferer, good luck, and please report back by commenting on the particular posting if you find success. Or just comment to the most recent posting and I will pick it up.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Morphine - off it, then on it again!

I'd been taking the morphine sulphate (20mg. a day) for around 18 months and wanted to come off it - on the basis that it's not good to take a drug like that for too long, and to see what the effect might be.
I cut down to one tablet in the evening, for two weeks, then stopped altogether.  Well I'm afraid the effect was not good: within a day my cough had gone noticeably worse.  But I also very quickly got back into the pattern of waking up at 1, 2, 3, 4,or 5 o'clock in the morning and starting to cough soon after.  So after two weeks of that disruption to my life and damage to my energy levels, I went back on the drug - and immediately felt better.  My sleep improved the very same night, and my cough reduced - only a little, but significant enough to make it worth it. Two weeks on and I'm sleeping normally.

So I'm back on the morphine and I'll review that again in a year or so.

Incidentally, I'm about to retire from my job (as a university lecturer) and my wife thinks that the consequent reduction in stress could have a positive effect upon my cough, so we'll see.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nick
I've been coughing for about 15 years and I've been retired for a couple of years now but still coughing!!
My doctor wouldn't let me try morphine because of the side effects, but recommended the codeine linctus - it doesn't stop the cough but I guess it helps a lille bit.
Like you, I've tried so many things including nearly all the alternative stuff like hypnotism, acupuncture and reflexology to no avail.
However, thank you so much for starting this blog as it kind of helps to know I'm not the only one even though my GP seems to think I'm a hypochondriac and reacts as if he's never heard of this chronic coughing. I had to tell him my husband was threatening to divorce me before he sent me to an ENT specialist in Oxford (he was no help either!). I'm going to see the GP again armed with a list of some of the things suggested by your other bloggers with hope in my heart and a spring in my step - well you can't let it grind you down can you?
Yours hopefully(?!)
Jennie W

NickP said...


Morphine is increasingly used as a treatment for persistent cough - it was pioneered by Prof.Alyn Maurice at Hull University - with, I understand, considerable success. The only side effect that I suffered was a bit of constipation, which you can take an over-the-counter potion to ease. Morphine sulphate, at 20mg. a day, is such a small dose as well that I believe the risk of side effects is minimal. Codeine linctus is ineffectual. I'd advise you to be persistent with your GP - they don't know everything.
I think though, morphine is only treating the symptoms and not addressing the underlying cause. The weight of opinion from the blog would be that the cause is likely to be something to do with acid (or non-acid) reflux.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nick
My cough started around 15 years ago but for many years it was almost un noticeable, almost like an involentary tick!
But as the years went by the cough got gradually worse.
Ive been to ENT, and the Ashtma clinic in Wigan. Theyve now sent me back to ENT.
Ive had all manner of puffers (they first thought it was ashtma, but have since changed there minds)
Tubes down my noise (one nostrel was inflamed) Tubes down my throat in to my lungs (both clear)
I came across your site a while back and remembered the morphine post, but am a little disapointed to see its not really a cure.

3 years ago i coughed so much i fractured the lower disc in my back! I had to have 3 months off work (no pay, self employed)
Ive also vomited on a number of occassions and lost weight (now take high calorie drinks to maintain weight)
Cant chew gum, (wont go into that)
Feeling pretty cheesed off at the moment.
Glad to see im not alone, but slightly alarmed to see there doesnt seem to be a cure.


Marjorie said...

I am 81 and for 25 years have suffered the same appalling cough as others, which wrecked my retirement, and got no answers from umpteen docs/specialists/fringe wallahs, etc. A year ago I broke my leg/hip and dreaded going on a ward but was told don't worry you will be on morphine which will shut up the cough, and so it was, wonderful. Off it after a few days, and back to the cough and all the comments of "what a disgusting cough, why don't you do something about it"...yeah,yeah!! After another week due to increased pain I had codeine added to the painkillers, and great,cough gone again. Things have not gone well with the leg, so the GP is happy for me to be on Co-dodamel 8/500, codeine,paracetamol respectively, up to 2 x 3 daily. Works well for both problems. He did say cough-wise I would be better on codeine linctus, but was not. Codeine is said to be addictive but I have not had problems, and maybe the doc thinks at my age so what! (Codeine is said to be an offshoot of morphine), and is only on prescription. However, something I have not seen mentioned on the blogs is Potter's Pholcodine Pastilles for stubborn coughs. This is a form of codeine not on presciption and is always behind the counter in chemists. I never go out without them for when the tickle in the throat is about to set up trouble. Also if I feel any problem at night I start to suck one until it is gummy, then stick it firmly on the roof of the mouth and leave it. This is a hard gum and usually there is still a little left in the morning, and gives me a peaceful night...you won't swallow it! Sorry it is not a cure but I hope it will help somebody.

Jeanette H said...

Hi Nick,
I wanted to share my story with you since I have been free for a month now from my chronic and constant cough after more than 20 years. Free from cough meaning exactly that - no coughing other than what other people experience. No headache, no sore ribs or stomach muscles, no sore or raw throat, sleeping at night. My family and colleagues are stunned, and it's so quiet!
My diagnosis after all these years was Hyper Sensitive Mucous Membranes, and the cure was to double the dose of stomach acid medicine and add on Seretide, a combination inhaler containing Flixotide and Serevent. The first two weeks I inhaled a double dosis, and now, after two months, I canät believe this is true.
Not sure if you have already tried this, but maybe worth a try?

NickP said...

I'm back off the morphine again and it's buggering up my sleep ... again. I stopped taking it almost a month ago because my consultant wanted to try me on a new drug regime - aimed at blitzing any acid reflux problem.

But so far, it's not working. I'm still coughing - possibly a bit more than before, and I'm not sleeping very well.

Apparently though, there are other possible treatments that may be available soon so I might have to hang on in there...

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