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:

  • lung condition treatment checklist

    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.

  • medical diagnosis

    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:

  • difficulty exercising

    Unable to exercise regularly

  • difficulty climbing stairs

    Shortness of breath climbing stairs

  • chronic cough while running errands

    Continuous coughing while running errands

2x more likely

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 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 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 in combination with your multidrug treatment.

This study reviewed the US Medicare Parts A and B administrative claims database for January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2015 and included people ≥65 years of age at the time of first diagnosis. Those without MAC lung disease were age- and sex-matched to the group with MAC lung disease.
NTM=nontuberculous mycobacteria.
Next: Is ARIKAYCE right for you?
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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION INCLUDING BOXED WARNING AND INDICATION ARIKAYCE is associated with: risk of increased respiratory adverse reactions including allergic inflammation of lungs, coughing up blood, severe breathing problems and worsening of COPD.

ARIKAYCE can cause serious side effects, including:

  • allergic inflammation of the lungs. These respiratory problems may be symptoms of allergic inflammation of the lungs and often come with fever, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and fast breathing
  • coughing up of blood (hemoptysis). Coughing up blood is a serious and common side effect of ARIKAYCE
  • severe breathing problems. Severe breathing problems can be symptoms of bronchospasm. Bronchospasm is a serious and common side effect of ARIKAYCE. Bronchospasm symptoms include shortness of breath, difficult or labored breathing, wheezing, and coughing or chest tightness
  • worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is a serious and common side effect of ARIKAYCE
  • serious allergic reactions. Serious allergic reactions that may lead to death have happened to people who take ARIKAYCE. Stop taking ARIKAYCE right away and get emergency medical help if you have any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: hives, itching, redness or blushing of the skin (flushing), swollen lips, tongue or throat, trouble breathing or wheezing, shortness of breath, noisy high-pitched breathing (stridor), cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feel cramps in your stomach area, fast heart rate, feeling light headed, feeling faint, loss of control of the bowels or bladder (incontinence), and dizziness

While using ARIKAYCE, these side effects may become serious enough that treatment in a hospital is needed. Call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you have any of these serious side effects while taking ARIKAYCE. Your healthcare provider may ask you to stop using ARIKAYCE for a short period of time or completely stop using ARIKAYCE.

Do not use ARIKAYCE if you are allergic to any aminoglycoside, or any of the ingredients in ARIKAYCE.

Before using ARIKAYCE, tell your healthcare provider about all medical conditions, including if you:

  • have asthma, COPD, shortness of breath, or wheezing (bronchospasm)
  • have been told you have poor lung function
  • have hearing problems, such as ringing in your ears or hearing loss
  • have dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
  • have kidney problems
  • have neuromuscular disease, such as myasthenia gravis
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if ARIKAYCE can harm your unborn baby. ARIKAYCE is in a class of medicines that may be connected with complete deafness in babies at birth. The deafness affects both ears and cannot be changed
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if the medicine in ARIKAYCE passes into your breast milk and if it can harm your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during treatment with ARIKAYCE

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

ARIKAYCE may cause serious side effects, including:

  • hearing loss or ringing in the ears (ototoxicity). Ototoxicity is a serious and common side effect of ARIKAYCE. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have hearing loss or you hear noises in your ears, such as ringing or hissing. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having problems with balance or dizziness (vertigo)
  • worsening kidney problems (nephrotoxicity). ARIKAYCE is in a class of medicines which may cause worsening kidney problems. Your healthcare provider may do a blood test to check how well your kidneys are working during your treatment with ARIKAYCE
  • worsening muscle weakness (neuromuscular blockade). ARIKAYCE is in a class of medicines which can cause muscle weakness to get worse in people who already have problems with muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)

The most common side effects of ARIKAYCE include: changes in voice and hoarseness (dysphonia), cough during or after a dose of ARIKAYCE, especially in the first month after starting treatment, muscle pain, sore throat, tiredness (fatigue), diarrhea, nausea, headache, fever, decreased weight, vomiting, rash, increased sputum, or chest discomfort.

These are not all of the possible side effects of ARIKAYCE. Call your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.


ARIKAYCE is used in combination with multidrug therapy for adults who still test positive for MAC lung disease after at least 6 months on multidrug treatment alone.

ARIKAYCE was approved by FDA using the Limited Population pathway. This means FDA has approved this drug for a limited and specific patient population, and studies on the drug may have only answered focused questions about its safety and effectiveness.

ARIKAYCE was studied in adult patients. It is not known if ARIKAYCE is safe and effective in children younger than 18 years of age.