Spiriva - From a Patient's Perspective
The question came up in the chat room about people who had been on Spiriva, and what they thought of it. I have been taking Spiriva for nearly three months now. I have a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans.
I was hospitalised at the end of Sept 02. Just couldn't breath. I was in ICU for about a week and they had me on a couple of different intravenously administered antibiotics, along with Prednisolone, Oxis and Pulmicort puffers and Ventilin. Also on immunosuppressants and other drugs etc. as I have had a BMT. My FEV1 on admission was .64. In ICU, I went on to a Spiriva trial, and have been on it ever since. When I was hospitalised I had a bad chest infection, and was coughing all the time. Chronic coughing just takes my breath away.
After about three weeks, I was discharged and my FEV1 was .81. I kept improving, and I knew that my infections were going away. I seemed to be able to breath much better and I could do a lot of things I couldn't do before. (I can now walk up a set of 13 steps without having to stop every third step, I can get around a shopping centre, with the odd break, instead of heading for the nearest seat all the time, and I am able to work a five-hour day, behind a desk.)
Admittedly I have to do everything pretty slowly, and I can still get SOB, so I have to keep within my bodies limitations. BUT, I can do these things.
In the last two months, I have been the best I have been in 12 months, and I realise now that I must have had some sort of lung infections most of the time. I have been on all the medications listed above for a couple of years now with the exception of Spiriva.
So I have to ask the question, is it the fact that I have no infections, or is it Spiriva that is the reason that I feel better, or is it just good luck. I gather that us people with COPD do get secretions that build up in our lungs, and this can be a source of infection. Spiriva keeps our small bronchiole tubes open for longer, and of course we can cough the stuff up. We should be able to breath better as well.
I have also found that I hardly cough at all now, and have to deliberately cough to get anything up. I seem to have very little phlegm as well. The only added medication in the last three months has been Spiriva.
So there it is - for what it is worth. Above is only my experience, and might be different for anyone else.
A site worth looking at for Spiriva: www.meerburgpharmacy.com/spiriva.htm
I went to my pulmo doc on 31st Dec, and my FEV1 is now 1.14. He said that my lungs don't have any crackles and sound ok. Maybe at this rate I will improve even better. Spiriva in Australia is on trials at the moment, but is to go on the pharmacy list in February.
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