I have had a severe, violent, chronic cough with accompanying chronic bronchitis for approximately twenty-two years. Despite seeing multiple specialists, and even having two sinus surgeries, nothing and no one has been able to identify the cause for the cough, and despite trying over sixty prescription cough medications and probably thirty or more over the counter cough medicine, nothing has been effective at all on the cough except for Tussionex (Hydrocodone/Chlorpheniramine ER Suspension).
Both of my last two doctors eventually came to realize that keeping me on this medication was the only way to allow me to stay even marginally healthy. They did this, despite the fact that it is hydrocodone.
The reason both doctors kept me on the Tussionex is because I basically lived for over six years with virtually constant bronchitis (and the concurrent cough, which continued after the bronchitis was supposedly gone) and on antibiotics. I saw one ENT, and after a CT scan to the sinuses revealed a cyst, he did surgery on me—insisting that this would “cure” me. When, after recovering from surgery, the cough and bronchitis continued, he would look into my sinuses and simply say, “It looks just beautiful”, and I would ask why I was still sick. This went on for a year, until I decided to get a second opinion and the story was exactly the same. CT scan, surgery, promises....no results. I suspect that if a cyst keeps recurring, there is a reason, but neither doctor ever seemed interested in addressing that.
I saw two allergists and was allergy tested twice with no results, and I've seen three pulmonologists.
At one point, I coughed so long and hard that I ripped a huge hiatal hernia (I'd had an esophagoscopy a year before and they said I had a very small hiatal hernia at that time) and my stomach slid through and was lying on my lungs! I had surgery, and the surgeon pulled my stomach back through the hernia and tacked it down to prevent it happening again, however he told me he could not repair the hernia because it was too large! He told me that I could not continue to cough like that, or the situation could very well recur.
Now, my PCP has retired, and since the DEA has changed the status of hydrocodone (and codeine in general, I assume) to a stricter level, I can't find any physician willing to give me the medication! If I don't get some soon, I will end up sick and coughing constantly, and probably back in the hospital. I also have a weak and damaged heart due to all the stress over the past 22 years (being ill AND working 11 years in a hostile work environment). I am getting desperate!