(MAC/MAI) Mycobacterium Avium Complex Pulmonary Disease: Join us

Posted by Katherine, Alumni Mentor @katemn, Nov 21, 2011

I am new to Mayo online .. I was hoping to find others with .. MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) and/or BRONCHIECTASIS. I found only 1 thread on mycobacterium accidently under the catagory "Lungs". I'm hoping by starting a subject matter directly related to MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) I may find others out there!

I was diagnosed by a sputum culture August 2007 (but the culture result was accidentally misfiled until 2008!) with MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) and BRONCHIECTASIS. I am now on 5 antibiotics. Working with Dr. Timothy Aksamit at Rochester Mayo Clinic .. he is a saint to have put up with me this long! I was terrified of the treatment . started the first antibiotic September 3, 2011 … am now on all 5 antibiotics for 18 mos to 2 years. Am delighted at the very bearable side effects!

I wrote on the 1 thread I found: If you google NON-TUBERCULOUS MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) you will learn a LOT about the disease. But PLEASE do NOT get scared about all the things you read .. that is what I did and nearly refused to do the treatment until after a 2nd Micomacterium was discovered! Educate yourself for "due diligence" .. but take it all with a grain of salt .. you are NOT necessarily going to have all the terrible side effects of the antibiotics! Good luck to you!

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January 2017 Update

One of our great Connect Members .. @Paula_MAC2007  .. had a wonderfully helpful idea that I wanted to share! Her idea .. as you read through the pages to gather information on our shared disease of MAC you can develop a personal "file cabinet" for future reference without the necessity of reading all the pages again!

If you have the "MS Word" program on your computer:
– Document Title Example:  Mayo Clinic Connect MAI/MAC Information
– Then develop different categories that make sense to you such as:  Heath Aids .. Videos .. Healthy Living .. Positive Thinking .. Baseline Testing and Regular Testing .. Antibiotics ..
Tips for
– As you read the pages .. copy/paste/save things of interest into that MS Word document under your preferred categories for future reference.

Then as you want to refer back to something in the future .. YEAH!  You have now created your own personal "file cabinet" on MAC/MAI!  Go to it!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the MAC & Bronchiectasis group.

I was dx’d with MAC in 1998. During the diagnosis process I was subsequently infected with another more serious infection during a bronch.
I was on 3 to 6 antibiotics for 8 years. After 2 years I no longer tested positive (sputum) for the MAC.

After surgery to remove the lobe with the other, more serious infection, I have neither.

Good nutrition, daily EXCERCISE via workouts on my tread mill to keep lungs clear, have been key. Basically, I never let it interfere with my life. Yes, sometimes I was tired particularly after my morning ‘cocktail’ of meds, but my husband was good at gently coaxing me on, and I would eventually get over the ‘hump’ and enjoy an active day.

Also key, get an adjustable bed. They are expensive, but necessary so that you don’t sleep flat, I waited years, and found I should have followed my Dr.s instructions immediately. Also, eat light at night.

but really, the huffing, puffing excersize 4 days a week, keeps the lungs clear and seems to have been (and still is) my biggest help other than the meds.

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Is this blog still active? I am suffering from the chronic MAC cough and desperate for some guidance. Many thanks!

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I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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I am looking for patients that have MAC to learn about their meds and sidemeffects

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My husband was just diagnosed with MAC and put on the cocktail of three drugs they give to treat the disease.
After day one on the drugs he was miserable he was fatigued couldn’t eat and was just miserable. He was suppose to be on these 6 pills three days a week . Any body have this experience

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@blc

I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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I was diagnosed with Mac the 7/52015. I am on 3 antibiotics (2700mg) per day. I want to know when will I stop feeling so tired? I struggle to eat. Abdominal pain, nausea etc. when I try to clean the house I struggle to breath.

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@blc

I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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I took Calcium D Glucarate once a day. I do not know why it worked but it did. It was not recommended by a doctor but a friend who follows alternative medicine. I was successfully on 3 drugs for 16 months. I did lose about 10 lbs but my appetite improved and I started to feel better after taking the above mentioned calcium D Glucarate which I bought at a local health food store. It is worth a try as I too felt terrible during the first month.

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@blc

I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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Thank you so much for replying, I will defnately give it a go. I don't
think anyone knows what it feels like. I hope I don't have to take the meds
after 12 months anymore.

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@blc

I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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Well, I do know what I felt like and it was pretty awful but I think not as bad as chemo. I would go back to bed at 11 am as I just did not feel like getting off the couch. But I think as time goes by the body adjusts somewhat. Hope the calcium D Glucarate works.

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@blc

I found this discussion while researching side effects for the meds prescribed for MAC, and possible ways to tolerate them.
I was diagnosed in March 2013 after suffering with a cough for approximately 18 months. When I started coughing up a little blood occasionally, I went to my GP and he sent me across the hall to a pulmonologist. After several CT scans and blood tests and finally a bronchoscopy he determined it was MAC. I started the meds about 3 weeks ago and am very uncomfortable the 3 days a week I take them. I had to stop taking the clarithromycin because it made me break out in a rash. I can’t imagine taking these meds for the next year or more!! I’m sensitive to most meds anyway, and this prescription makes me feel worse than the cough. Has anyone really gotten used to the side effects? Normally I’m a very healthy 56 yr old woman, vegetarian, work out 3-4 times a week and eat a lot of fruits, veggies and yogurt. Any suggestions on how to cope with the side effects is appreciated. *B

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Hello BLC and Maryke and Jill,

I was diagnosed with MAC about 7 years ago.- also known as NTM for Nontuberculous Mycobacteria – see info here: http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/conditions/ntm/
(I’m not Jewish but this is a good site.) See my post above from March 2013.

I am on the regime of the standard 3 antibiotics. Originally I took the drugs EVERYDAY and I barely tolerated them. Was nauseated, occasionally throwing up, lethargic. My pulmonologist told me about several of his patients with MAC and what they do to overcome the side effects of the drugs. He told me to ‘find what works for me’, to feel better on the drugs. I tried taking them at night, or in the morning, after eating, before eating — lots of different things. Taking them 1-2 hours before I went to bed, after eating, seemed to help the nausea. After 18 months, I got a new fabulous pulmonologist – an expert on MAC. I gradually felt better. After 3 years, I was going out of the country and negotiated with my doc about going off the drugs, which I did. But after 6 months I was really ill again. Was put back on the drugs but this time taking them only 3 days/week. Been doing it ever since with little side effects. I take them with orange juice when I get up in the morning, and tolerate this just fine now compared to taking them every day! For me, I’ll most probably be taking them for the rest of my life. I’ve had 2 lung biopsies and one lung lavage (wash) over the past 7 years, to see if things have spread.

Besides the drugs,MY DOCTOR RECOMMENDED SEVERAL OTHER THINGS I need to do to help myself feel better. (1) Get some form of exercise to get my lungs expanding — Yoga or strenuous walking or Pilates, etc. I tried Pilates after being diagnosed seven years ago and have been doing it 2-3 times a week since. This definitely gets my lungs expanding, as I cough when doing Pilates – which is a good thing! I also get out and briskly walk when I can. (2) Plenty of rest — getting warn down is really easy with this disease. And getting enough rest (whether it’s being asleep or merely resting) is important. (3) Get enough Vitamin D, since there is a connection with this and MAC – doctors don’t yet know what the connection is.

Also, have your eyes examined early by a very good ophthalmologist. One of the drugs can drastically affect your vision. And have your blood checked regularly, per your doctors orders, since your body is filtering these drugs which can cause liver or kidney issues.

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