Slow Progress

Last updated: December 2018

I recently switched primary care doctors. This one is equipped to deal with pulmonary issues as well as day to day primary care stuff. I was not necessarily unhappy with my pulmonary doctor, but this change allowed me to miss less time at work by removing the separate appointments.

Since I was making changes, I felt it was worth asking about medication changes while I was at it. The new doctor is not opposed to trying a different medication. They wanted me to try the highest dose of the Breo for a month before we try something new. I am currently on this highest dose for now.

Medication changes

At this point, I have been taking the new dose for a few weeks. It occurred to me that I really do not know what to look for as far as noticeable changes or effects. I still have moments where I struggle to catch my breath even without any type of exertion. But the episodes have been more spread out and less frequent than before on the basic dose that the two previous doctors refused to take me off of or change. Where my confusion lies is that I do not know if the reduction in both episodes of loss of breath as well as coughing fits have been a result of the higher dose of Breo, or more to do with the season changing and having much cooler temperatures.

I know that my COPD has not progressed any further. According to the last set of pulmonary function tests, my doctor told me my lung capacity was still the same as before, and my numbers are always good on the pulse/ox meters. One thing that has definitely changed over the last month has been my level of fatigue. I do not know if that change is related to the medication change or not.

Side effects

I have noticed something that appears to be the same throughout the family of inhalers such as Breo. They all seem to have one side effect in common. All of these types of inhalers can cause Thrush. I suppose that would not be the end of the world. It just seems odd to me. You are intended to inhale the medication, causing the tiny crystals of medicine to go into your lungs and sit. There, the medicine helps to treat the symptoms of COPD. However, the same medicine that helps when sitting in your lungs, causes Thrush when it sits in your mouth.

I have seen medications for various ailments that had far worse side effects. It just struck me as funny (if I am being completely honest), that basically twelve inches of separation can leave you feeling better or feeling worse for an altogether different reason.

Continuing the Conversation

My doctor and I have had many conversations about my medications and my thoughts on the side effects, occasionally having a laugh about them. Have you ever struggled with frustrations over making only slow progress in your treatment? Have you ever found any of the medications you have tried to have peculiar side effects?

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