Understanding the risks of untreated MAC lung disease
If you’re delaying treatment, it may be time to talk to your doctor
Studies show that having a MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex) infection can cause damage to the lungs which can worsen over time. This is why NTM experts recommend starting treatment rather than waiting, especially for those with a more severe infection, a compromised immune system, severe fatigue or other signs of decreased quality of life, or cavitary disease. Despite this, many people with MAC may delay treatment due to:
Treatment priority of other diseases
It’s okay if other lung conditions come first, but remember to include MAC in conversations with your doctor.
Telling yourself “I’m not that bad”
Maybe you’ve seen others talk about their MAC lung disease on social media and thought, “I don’t need treatment because my symptoms aren’t nearly as bad as theirs.” But if you’ve had to change your lifestyle to cope with MAC, it may be time to consider treatment options.
A lack of symptoms
Did you know that your MAC could be getting worse even if you don’t have symptoms? You and your doctor can discuss ways to monitor your disease and create a treatment plan to help prevent disease progression.
Think about how MAC may have already changed your daily life:
Unable to exercise regularly
Shortness of breath climbing stairs
Continuous coughing while running errands
MAC lung disease can have a serious, long-term impact on your health if left untreated. In fact, one study reviewed medical claims data for both people with MAC lung disease and those without, and found that people with MAC were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized as those without the disease.*
Research shows that a proactive approach to your health is best. Is it time to expand your care team?
While doctors often recommend inhalers and airway clearance techniques to help manage the disease, clearing the infection will likely require treatment with multiple antibiotics. The first step to getting the right treatment is partnering with a doctor you can trust. Look for a care team who:
Understands your unique needs and evaluates your initial multidrug treatment after 6 months if you’re not meeting your goal of testing MAC-negative
Gives you the information and answers you need
Has experience with MAC lung disease
Includes regular visits and monitoring as part of your MAC treatment plan
Some may find their initial multidrug treatment is simply not enough to test MAC-negative. If you’re still testing positive for MAC at 6 months, talk to your doctor about adding ARIKAYCE.
- Set milestones with your doctor to help you along your treatment journey
- Get the Doctor Discussion Guide to help you talk to your doctor about ARIKAYCE