RA and lung issues

jenzie06 Member Posts: 708
edited 15. Nov 2017, 08:04 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hey all

So a week after starting the Baricitinib I went down with a chest infection. This has since descended into pneumonia. I've had two courses of antibiotics and a shed load of steroids.

I'm struggling big time. So out of breath, feel like theres an elephant sat on my chest, feels like I'm breathing through a really small straw and I've been coughing up really dark and bloody yucky stuff (sorry for tmi) although not a lot of it at all, it seems like its too deep.

Gp has been in contact a lot but not been particularly helpful. All my numbers are good despite me feeling breathless and woozy. I've got the RA everywhere even in sternum so that was a suggestion but it feels very different.

Last year I was hospitalised with pneumonia but that was a swift decline. The consultant on the ward had decided it was due to RA before even seeing me and we had to fight to have a scan which showed the pneumonia. I'm desperate to stay out of hospital.
In August I ended up in A&E with chest pain (put down to side effects of sertraline which I'd just started) and anxiety (even though I said i didn't feel anxious).

I feel really ill but no one seems to be able to tell me why. My bloods show some infection but no blood clot. I haven't had a chest X-ray.

The gp said she'd refer to respiratory when I'm better but after being out of breath for 3weeks now I don't feel like I'm going to get better ever!

Anyone had any experience with this? What should i be asking?


  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    dont know much about that drug but asume you are taking it with methotrexate ,

    I had RA for over 20 years & on a new biologic which is taken by tablet & given it because it dont last long in the system & reduce the chance of infections (Tofacitinib)

    I got Occupational Ashma as well as Diabetes but never had pneumonia (just Sepsis) & not known of other people suffering RA with pneumonia so cant advise you , I would talk to you consultant asking if this is the right drug for you & the risk of pneumonia & is the problem with your lungs caused by RA

    hope they can help you
  • dibdab
    dibdab Member Posts: 1,498
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Feeling your struggles. I have RA, and due to the DMARD's had constant chest infections over a number of years, as a result I developed lung issues. I have to admit my GP's were fantastic when I had the infections (I have asthma too) but I was hugely frustrated that the rheumatologist didn't make any links. Eventually I requested a change of consultant who was amazing-he immediately picked up on the constant infections and ordered a whole raft of blood tests which revealed that I lacked an antibody to a common cause of infections-a simple injection gave me the protection needed. He also got chest xrays that spotted the bronchiectasis and referred me to a Respiratory consultant. 5 years on I am very stable, take a daily prophylactic antibiotic and have been discharged from Respiratory.

    Have you spoken to your rheumy team about the infections? Perhaps they could give you some advice too? I hope that you start to feel better soon, but maybe if all else fails and your breathing is difficult a trip to A&E may be the way forward-it sounds as if you still have a nasty infection going on -and only medics can diagnose and prescribe for you.