Treatment for Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Lung Disease

If you’re diagnosed with nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease, your doctor will discuss the right treatment for you.

Some people with NTM lung disease don’t need treatment. Others require ongoing treatments to keep their disease under control.

Treating a Mild Case

Your doctor may decide to watch and wait rather than treat your infection. She can check your symptoms and look at X-rays to make sure your lungs don’t start to show damage.

Why wouldn’t you want to treat your infection even if it’s mild? You’ll need to take antibiotics. They have side effects. And you’ll probably need more than one type because the bacteria often become resistant to drugs. Your doctor will weigh the pros and cons of treating your disease right away.

If your doctor does choose to treat it, you’ll take the medicine for a while. The doctor will run a sputum culture test every month or two to look for bacteria. You’ll cough up some mucus and she’ll send it to a lab for tests. You can stop taking the meds when the results have come back negative for a year.

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