There are at least 3 ‘standard’ drugs that work in synergy with each other. I’ve been on Rifampin, Ethambutol & Azithromycin since 2007-2008. Yes, I had side effects. See my previous messages on this blog.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
1) THE NAMES OF THE DRUGS — there are different names for very similar (or the same) drugs
2) DOSAGE OF THE DRUGS – the amount is based on BODY WEIGHT. So 2 people here can be on the same drugs but in different dosages. My 1st pulmonologist had me on too high a dosage and my 2nd pulmonologist lowered the amount of one drug – – and it alleviated the nausea. Ask your doctor to verify that you are taking the correct dosage for your weight, if you have a concern.
3) SEVERITY OF MAC/MAI — this differs among us. My MAC was quite severe when diagnosed and required me taking the 3 drugs everyday. After several years and feeling better, the drugs were reduced to 3 days a week.
4) WHEN TO TAKE THE MEDS — per my pulmonologists at a teaching hospital (and I’ve written this earlier), I can take the drugs whenever I want, but consistency is the key. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night I take the drugs, or whether before or after food. They said to find what works for me, and to faithfully take them in this pattern.
5) SOURCE OF THE DRUGS — unfortunately, I’ve found when switching health insurance plans or pharmacies, that the same drugs can come from differing manufacturing centers. And the nausea can start all over again! So you can get a batch of the drugs that may cause nausea for you, depending on where they were manufactured.
5) TESTS — I’ve had 2 lung biopsies and 1 lung lavage (filling the lungs with fluid and suctioning out the fluid, cells & bacteria). My pulmonologist is very thorough and knowledgeable about MAC/MAI.
I am alive and feeling very good!! Some keys to treating your MAC/MAI:
1) take the meds faithfully (if you’ve been prescribed them)
2) get plenty of rest
3) EXERCISE to strengthen your lungs. I do Pilates and gentle Yoga 4-5 times a week. Try to briskly walk for 20 minutes a day.
4) Vitamin D – get yours checked. There’s a correlation between low Vitamin D & MAC.
5) Get your eyes checked routinely since one of the drugs can cause blindness. My ophthalmologist is familiar with the drugs & had another patient on them who he had to take off the drugs.
5) Talk with your pulmonologist about everything you don’t understand. Become your own advocate for your care – knowledge is power. This site has a lot of excellent practical information.
6) Avoid potential sources of bacteria . . . hot tubs, spas. I don’t take showers – just baths! (trying to be on the safe side). Take care of your lungs.
6) Stay positive! Sometimes hard to do.