Dr Ron Eccles on Therapies That Block ATP and Reduce Cough

Therapies that block adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can reduce the irritation that causes cough, and some currently being studied also don’t have taste side effects that can confound clinical trial results, explained Ron Eccles, BSc, PhD, DSc, emeritus profess at Cardiff University.

Therapies that block adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can reduce the irritation that causes cough, and some currently being studied also don’t have taste side effects that can confound clinical trial results, explained Ron Eccles, BSc, PhD, DSc, emeritus profess at Cardiff University.

Transcript

How do drugs being studied in clinical trials better address cough than over-the-counter medications that have a placebo-like effect on cough?

The ATP is believed to be released as part of an inflammatory reaction and stimulate nerve endings, peripheral nerve endings, to induce cough. Therefore, if you can block the effects of ATP, you can reduce the amount of coughing, reduce the amount of irritation—that sensory irritation that causes cough. That is the idea behind it. So yes, it's a very interesting pharmacological approach to treating cough.

A big advantage also is that, apart from the taste side effects, which confound the clinical trials, these medicines don't enter the central nervous system and don't cause any sedation or other side effects. So, it's a very interesting area. And if one could antagonize ATP, without the side effects associated with taste, we'd have a very good medicine.

So, in the future, there may be more specific ATP antagonists that don't affect taste so much and which will provide benefit that can be demonstrated in these clinical trials.