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British Lung Foundation
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Bronchiectasis and antibiotics

Last year I posted how when I was given augmentin following a dog bite my coughing cleared up almost completely. Unfortunately after a couple of months my symptoms gradually returned. Well a few weeks ago I had to have a prostate biopsy ( not very pleasant ) and to avoid risk of infection had a three day course of Ciprofloxacin and within a matter of days my severe coughing has vanished again.

Plan to take this up with my doctor.

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10 Replies

Hi pilch, did your bronchiectasis consultant refer you to physio to be shown lung clearing methods which you must do yourself at home daily ? I have to "drain my lungs" twice a day and if miss even one day then I am coughing continually till I do clear it. Exerciser like running and swimming is good but not precise enough to clear all the damaged crevices of some lungs like mine, trapped mucus will only cause any infection to flare up again. Your GP may not have the specialist knowledge needed to treat bronchiectasis, ask to see your consultant.

Hi Zube

Thanks for your reply. Yes I have seen a physio and do carry out exercises but I find running an excellent back up. As my lungs feel good at the moment I've entered a 10k race on Saturday. Make the most of it while I can.

Best wishes


Lots of people with Bronchiectasis (like myself) are on azithromycin as a prophylactic 3 times a week. Its been brilliant for me. You should speak to you rGP/Consultant and explain the effect it had on you.


My consultant did put me on azithromycin but I couldn't cope with the side effects so I propose to mention the Ciprofloxacin when I next see him.

Thanks for your reply

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Ciprofloxacin is an excellent drug but you need to know it should be kept as a drug of last resort. I have had bronchiectasis for 60+ years and have always had a cough but not necesserily an infection. Antibiotics have always been kept for a 'must have' occasion and I used physio to keep me as clear as possible. Whenever I have had an antibiotic my lungs appear clear and then it gradually comes back - even with cipro.

A few years ago I had a bad infection and needed 2/3 different antibiotics, the final one being cipro. I was then told I was colonised with pseudomonas (a nasty bug for bronch sufferers) and was given cipro every time it flared up as it was the best/only drug to deal with it. After some years I was told the pseudamonas was resistant to the cipro and I now have to go into hospital for iv drugs. I also have to nebulise gentamicin twice a day - such a drag, but it keeps the worst at bay, although still not clear.

So, what I am saying is - be careful not to rush onto cipro, you may need it further down the line. And increase your physio to match your secretions.

Thanks Happyfeet for your info. I have to say I'm not keen to take antibiotics on a regular basis to avoid building up immunity. I also have CLL - a type of leukaemia - and need antibiotics from time to time if I pick up an infection.


Ciprofloxacin is used to treat Pseudomonas Aeruginosa which is commonly colonised in the lungs of those with Bronchiectasis. Cipro is fairly strong (with side effects) but I now have an emergency supply at home, just in case. My Consultant said if I have more than 3 infections in 6 months he will consider putting me on Azithromycin as a permanent maintenance dose - which I haven't needed yet. My GP is not keen on continuous antibiotics because of eventual resistance but obviously he would have to fall in with Consultant's wishes if necessary. Hope this helps somewhat. Good luck.

Claudine, I had cipro as my emergency supply for a number of years. Some people have tendon problems with them but I had no side effects and it was my consultants drug of choice. However my Pseudamonas became resistant to cipro and now I have no oral drug to take when I have a flare-up. I must go into hospital for 2 weeks iv antibiotics. Such a drag. Last time was 18 months ago as my current nebulised gentamicin seems to be keeping me pretty clear.

Azithromicin is supposed to work well at breaking down pseudamonas but I can't take it as I have heart problems. If you do have a problem and your consultant offers azithromicin, take him up on the offer,

Nice to hear from you. Some people really do seem to be between a rock and a hard place don't they? I've only had my Bronchiectasis diagnosed for just over three years and I'm learning all the time. I'll keep in mind what you say about Azithromycin. Didn't know there was such a thing as nebulised gentamicin either. I was given IV gentamicin after first diagnosis just to zap it but I'm nervous of it because I know that, long-term, it can affect your hearing. Maybe the nebulised version is less destructive. Thanks for all this. What a drag having to be hospitalised every time you have a flare-up though. Good luck.

Thank you all for the most helpful info on antibiotics.as I said at the start my coughing just stopped when I took Ciprofloxacin for a quite different reason . I was not aware that I had any infection at the time. It's now six weeks and I'm still feeling good.


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