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Cough Syrup for Chronic Bronchitis: Would It Do Any Good?

Cough Syrup for Chronic Bronchitis: Would It Do Any Good?

Chronic bronchitis is a serious condition that, unlike regular bronchitis, doesn’t go away and gets worse over time. How exactly do you deal with this condition? Is taking cough syrup for chronic bronchitis enough? Or are there better types of medication?

What is Chronic Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is when a person’s bronchi, or tubes that connect the airways to the lungs, are inflamed. In the case of acute bronchitis, viruses are typically the source of inflammation. However, in the case of chronic or persistent bronchitis, it’s usually caused by something else1.

The most common reason for chronic bronchitis is smoking. But other factors such as pollution, asthma, tuberculosis, etc. can be reasons for chronic bronchitis.

cough syrup for chronic bronchitis

Is cough syrup for chronic bronchitis effective?

For acute bronchitis, cough syrup can provide some relief. In particular, expectorants can help a person with bronchitis clear their airways and make breathing easier.

But, cough syrup for chronic bronchitis is another matter.

It’s possible for cough syrup to provide some relief, but for long-term relief, cough syrup is not enough.

Aside from this, it is generally not recommended to take cough syrup on a daily basis. Over time, it could cause some health problems instead of help treat chronic bronchitis.

The same goes for other remedies2 such as steaming, saline sprays, cough drops, and others. All of these can help ease some of the symptoms of chronic bronchitis, though they might not always work.

What are the best forms of treatment for chronic bronchitis?

If cough syrup for chronic bronchitis isn’t effective, then what forms of treatment are available?

Here are some of the most common ways of dealing with this condition:

Quitting smoking

For smokers, one of the best ways to treat their bronchitis is for them to quit smoking3. Quitting helps reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, lung cancer, complications from bronchitis, hypertension, and other serious illnesses.


Bronchodilators are a type of medication that helps ease the symptoms of bronchitis by relaxing and dilating the airways. This can help a person breathe easier and much more comfortably.


Steroids are also prescribed as medication for those with chronic bronchitis. Though, since these can have harmful side effects, such as high blood pressure, not everyone with bronchitis is prescribed steroids to help relieve symptoms.

Oxygen Therapy

This form of therapy is done for people who have severe bronchitis as well as low oxygen levels5. This treatment involves delivering oxygen gas into a person’s lungs directly so that they can breathe better. Depending on how severe the bronchitis is, the amount of oxygen needed can vary.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation involves a combination of exercise, proper nutrition, training on how to manage bronchitis, and even psychological help. This aims to help improve the well-being of someone who has chronic bronchitis.


While vaccines don’t necessarily treat bronchitis, they do help a person avoid illnesses that can cause complications. In particular, flu and pneumonia vaccines are important vaccines to take if you have chronic bronchitis.

Lung Transplant

A lung transplant is usually the last resort for persons with chronic bronchitis. It is usually done in cases where the symptoms are already severe, and medication is no longer helping the patient.

Their only option would be to have a lung transplant in order to have a healthy lung.

Key Takeaways

While cough syrup for chronic bronchitis does provide some relief, it is by no means an effective form of treatment. The best thing to do would be to consult your doctor and follow their recommendations closely in order to make sure that you’re managing chronic bronchitis the right way.

Learn more about managing chronic bronchitis here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  1. Chronic Bronchitis | Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/chronic-bronchitis, Accessed October 21, 2021
  2. Do Any Bronchitis Home Remedies Actually Work? – Cleveland Clinic, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/bronchitis-home-remedies/, Accessed October 21, 2021
  3. Chronic Bronchitis Treatment | UCSF Health, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/chronic-bronchitis/treatment, Accessed October 21, 2021
  4. Chronic Bronchitis: Primary Care Management – American Family Physician, https://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0515/p2365.html, Accessed October 21, 2021
  5. Chronic Bronchitis | Symptoms of Bronchitis | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/chronicbronchitis.html#cat_92, Accessed October 21, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Oct 22, 2021
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.