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Spiriva - From a Patient's Perspective

Editor's Note: The information below is a firsthand account on Spiriva, which was sent to our e-mail list Jan. 5, 2003 by Warren from OZ. He has been on Spiriva for about three months.

Hi everyone,

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:

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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January 10, 2003