Finally, the combination of methotrexate, prednisone and Plaquenil™ had been titrated for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and worked ‘like a charm.’ But, after about 8 consecutive months on this ‘cocktail,’ I developed pneumonia. Strange thing; I had also been on these same meds a year ago, when another type of pneumonia was diagnosed.
In both peumonias, the ‘culprit’ was determined to be methotrexate. Methotrexate causes pneumonia? Not directly but when the immune system is suppressed by methotrexate, the body is susceptible to other germs. Not only is this true of methotrexate, but of prednisone, Humira™, Rituxan™ and other medications used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. This supression of the immune system: immune-suppression.
These meds really stop inflammation, but at an expense. That expense? They can leave your immune system unable to mount a defense against foreign invaders. That’s why you see this admonishment in advertisements for the above meds: “make sure that you tell your doctor about any infections you have and avoid going to large public places.” My solution: have an intimate dinner at home and invite a few friends-who don’t have colds!
In some instances, immune suppression is ‘deliberate.’ Deliberate immune suppression prevents the body from rejecting a newly transplanted organ. Otherwise, the immune system would mount an attack on the newly transplanted organ and the body would reject it.
Because of these episodes of pretty severe pneumonias, methotrexate was eliminated from my medication regimen. Now, ‘off’ the med for @4 weeks, the aches are more pronouced each day. I can’t see my rheumatologist soon enough to figure out a replacement for methotrexate!
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