JAMA. 2023 Sep 11. doi: 10.1001/jama.2023.18035. Online ahead of print.
IMPORTANCE: Gefapixant represents an emerging therapy for patients with refractory or unexplained chronic cough.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of gefapixant for the treatment of adults with refractory or unexplained chronic cough.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Web of Science from November 2014 to July 2023.
STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers independently screened for parallel and crossover randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared, in patients with refractory or unexplained chronic cough, either gefapixant with placebo, or 2 or more doses of gefapixant with or without placebo.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Two reviewers independently extracted data. A frequentist random-effects dose-response meta-analysis or pairwise meta-analysis was used for each outcome. The GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach was used to rate the certainty in whether patients would perceive the effects as important (greater than the minimal important difference [MID]) or small (less than the MID).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cough frequency (measured using the VitaloJAK cough monitor; MID, 20%), cough severity (measured using the 100-mm visual analog scale [VAS]; higher score is worse; MID, 30 mm), cough-specific quality of life (measured using the Leicester Cough Questionnaire [LCQ]; score range, 3 [maximal impairment] to 21 [no impairment]; MID, 1.3 points), treatment-related adverse events, adverse events leading to discontinuation, and taste-related adverse events.
RESULTS: Nine RCTs including 2980 patients were included in the primary analysis. Compared with placebo, gefapixant (45 mg twice daily) had small effects on awake cough frequency (17.6% reduction [95% CI, 10.6%-24.0%], moderate certainty), cough severity on the 100-mm VAS (mean difference, -6.2 mm [95% CI, -4.1 to -8.4]; high certainty), and cough-specific quality of life on the LCQ (mean difference, 1.0 points [95% CI, 0.7-1.4]; moderate certainty). Compared with placebo, gefapixant (45 mg twice daily) probably caused an important increase in treatment-related adverse events (32 more per 100 patients [95% CI, 13-64 more], moderate certainty) and taste-related adverse events (32 more per 100 patients [95% CI, 22-46 more], high certainty). High-certainty evidence suggests that gefapixant (15 mg twice daily) had small effects on taste-related adverse events (6 more per 100 patients [95% CI, 5-8 more]).
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Compared with placebo, gefapixant (45 mg orally twice daily) led to modest improvements in cough frequency, cough severity, and cough-specific quality of life but increased taste-related adverse events.