Starting Arikayce - nervous
Hi All. I have been lurking here for a while and have learned a lot.
I was diagnosed with slow growing MAC several months ago.. I am being treated by a University of Chicago pulmologist who specializes in bronchiectasis and ntm . She's terrific and if anyone is looking for a specialist in the Chicago area, I would gladly recommend her. She started me on the 3 antibiotics and told me to bring in a sputum sample every month. I had to stop Rifampin due to severe abdominal pain. Apparently, patients have been doing just as well on Azithromycin and Ethambutol and trials are underway to determine whether Rifampin is needed. While it is too late to enroll me in the trial, my doctor is confident that I will do just as well without the Rifampin as with it. (She is currently running 4 different studies, has a resident and a Fellow assigned to her and, most important, I trust her.) My 2x a day airway clearance consists of a percussion vest, an aerobika and 3% saline (I can't tolerate 7%).
MAC has shown up in all 5 of the samples I have brought in so far. Sadly, the June sample also showed moderate pseudomonas along with at least two other bacteria. In the last two weeks, I had a pft (pulmonary function test) with 6 minute walk, a ct scan and a bronchoscopy with biopsies of a suspicious area in my right upper lobe. I am in the start up phase of Arikayce which hopefully will take care of the MAC, the pseudomonas and all the other nasty stuff (fingers crossed). I have spoken to a rep of the specialty pharmacy and verified insurance. My assigned coordinator sent me a welcome package and called yesterday. Once the medication has arrived (which should be soon), a nurse will come out to set me up and I will do the first dose in her presence.
I am very nervous with respect to the possible side effects. I remember reading in a discussion or two here a mention of Arikayce but I can't find it. I would love to hear from anyone who is taking this drug. Did you suffer any of the side effects? I understand that hoarseness is a common side effect but I am more worried about bronchospasm and coughing up blood.
Thank you for any personal experience with this drug.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the MAC & Bronchiectasis Support Group.
Windwalker. I have a client whose kitchen and bath I designed, who showed me a picture of her friend in Korea who was diagnosed with Mac. It’s ubiquitous!
Hi @bibes and welcome to Connect. Your extreme tiredness must so frustrating.
I wanted to introduce you to @jammer, @sounder27, and @windwalker as they have experience with MAC and may be able to offer you support.
Back to you @bibes, you mentioned that you would not be treated with those antibiotics. Why is that the case?
I wouldn’t take those antibiotics the three because of the terrible side effects or possible side effects. Like losing your eyesight and or your hearing being sick which I’m not right now and even if I were I would risk that. Plus it is my understanding that only 60% of those who take these drugs are cured. And 10% the Mac comes back. And at my age it certainly isn’t worth it. As for my tiredness I have good days and bad days. Thank you for your interest.
@bibes…I read your response and wondered how you had stolen my thoughts and words. My exact sentiments!! What might be of interest to you that I recently learned….is there can be a natural conversion of MAC. And, I believe I read somewhere, upwards of possibly 40% of MAC patients just have it "go away". Someone, please correct me if I have that wrong. That gives great hope…in the meantime while hoping for this, keep your lungs clean. There are some natural proactive practices that you might look into. Are you nebulizing a 7% solution of saline? It helps you cough up the junk in your lung. Talk to your Dr about it. Also, there is an herbal remedy that many on this site take called Clear Lungs by Ridgecrest Herbals. It is the extra strength formula in the Blue bottle. It is a compound of Chinese Herbs for keeping the airways clear. I take one a day. I also take NAC which is great for the lungs. Here is a link for info on NAC for the lungs. https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/nac-benefits-helps-lung-problems-addictions-autism-bipolar-and-more/
I am hoping with this preventative care that my MAC will stay stable or even convert. The last and maybe most important thing that I have learned from my Dr at Mayo….If you have acid reflux and it may be silent, fluids could be aspirated into the lungs. Sleep on a wedge and do not drink or eat 3 hours before bed. We are both fortunate that we are pretty much asymptomatic. I am tired, tired, tired also and sometimes have excess phlegm and what appears to be sputum with infection…little balls of colored phlegm…and sometimes Short of Breath. That is it so far. Anyway…Just wanted to put in my two cents to someone with the same mindset as me. I really do not think I would ever entertain the big 3 under any circumstances. I say that not having some of the difficult issues that many on this site experience. I wish for us all to regain our health and feel better…I hope the same for you, Bibes…Good luck…and sorry if I am too verbose, I can't help it. haha. Best, Kate
Thank you so much alley cat Kate. By the way I love your name. I have a cat name Apple. And a dog named Raffles. What would we do without them? Thank you for all your information I’m going to try it all. And I’m going to talk to my doctor about them. I really appreciate it thank you
@bibes. You are so welcome. I would be lost without my animals! At one point when I did cat rescue…I had a few fruity cats in the mix. (haha) Grape, and Melon were certainly cherished kitties. Sending Chin scratches to the Apple of your eye! (and Raffles too) Kate
Oh I do have one question. Where do you get 7% Celine. I guess I could ask them at the target.
@alleycatkate Thanks for sharing the information. I wasn't aware of the MAC natural conversion. But my case may just fit the bill. When I was initially diagnosed with MAC and bronchiectasis, I had just coughed up huge amounts of blood out of the blue. I had been very healthy up till then and there was no indication that this would happen to me, except that I was chronically coughing up sticky mucus. The latter was determined to be the result of bronchiectasis, which is incurable but not life-threatening. After I came out of ER, I stopped coughing up blood and have not done so for almost 5 years. My health has been good. I eat well and am active physically. For that reason, I didn't see any reason to go on a drug treatment out of the same concern as others that they might do more harm than good to my body. My pulmonologist agreed with me. I have been very happy with my decision because I continue to be healthy and active with no indication of MAC worsening. I figure as long as I'm able to live a normal life, I can do without the drugs.
It is a simple 7% saline solution but you need to get a prescription for it from your Dr along with the nebulizing equipment. Most here do it twice a day. I just go once.