Pleurisy: is there a variety of treatments?

A great friend of mine in the states who has been managing SLE for 30 years came down with pleurisy recently. She has had pleurisy before - hers is treated successfully with prednisone & albuterol (a bronchodilator used for asthma & co) to which this case is responding well now. She is on various daily prescription meds for SLE & multisystem conditions.

I know a bit about pleurisy because both my husband & I have had it. And I've researched it a bit, so I understand there are different types of pleurisy etc. but I'm curious what treatments forum members have received for pleurisy (mainly cause I'm prone to respiratory infections, and just want to be as informed as poss)

My husband had pleurisy once following a major crohns op on his small intestine. He was already on daily prednisolone, so our gp treated him with major pain killers until his pleurisy cleared up

My pleurisy was during what we now know was a very bad prolonged SLE flare, back before the NHS realised I have always had lupus. My gp treated my pleurisy with antibiotics took weeks to clear up. It was an awful experience. And I was not on any daily oral meds at the time. Now I'm on daily hydroxy+amitriptyline+myco. I haven't had a chest infection since starting myco last January

So, I'd be v grateful to hear how forum members have been treated for pleurisy.

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6 Replies

  • Hi Barnclown

    I had pleurisy out of the blue4 years ago and it was successfully treated by increasing my steroids to 30 mg a day for a month. That was the most steroids I'd ever taken!. I hope your States friend is feeling better.X

  • Thanks misty! Yes, my friend says the treatment is working well now and has always reliably sorted her pleurisy. She is what I think of as an expert patient. But pleurisy is pleurisy, and can only be tough to bear. I can imagine it could take a month of 30mg prednisolone per day to get rid of it. My friend is in the states, so I am basically wondering if uk drs would treat the way hers do. So, your info hits the spot.

    When my gp gave me antibiotics for pleurisy, he didn't do any tests to determine treatment - he just listened to my lungs etc. and asked me about my pain etc. I think my case took 2 months to clear up. I'll always wonder whether prednisolone would've helped me more

    Now I'm wondering if the other respiratory problems I seem to have been predisposed to would be better treated with prednisolone. E.g. I tend to get something my gp calls tracheitis giving the most violent coughing I've ever seen. Again, this has been iagnosed without lab tests and treated with antibiotics....I haven't had it since my lupus treatment began 3 years I'm wondering whether this too will be treated with pred if I get it again (fingers crossed I don't get these infections again...but I've had so many over the years that I'd rather be a bit prepared)

    Thanks again


  • I have not had pleurisy for a while now and cant remember what exactly used to be used to sort my attacks, but I have found prednisolone sorts out all sort of flare symptoms for me. Even if at the time i am unaware that there is a flare. I think possibly a mix of pred and anti-biotics was the usual routine for pleurisy.

    Doctors however are all so aware of possible prednisolone side effects and want patients weaned off it these days.

    I do wonder is some of this pressure is also applied by drug companies wanting to push newer more expensive drugs. Longer term who knows what the side effects may be of them.

  • Yes, this rings true to me!

    We now know I respond well to prednisolone tapers, so I feel better about the prospect of taking pred for things like pleurisy...

    Thanks xo

  • Hi again Barnclown

    I'm surprised your GP just took it upon himself to treat your respiratory problems blindly without bloods or a chest X-ray because you could well have had antibiotics you didn't need. Helped to make these superbugs!.Also your body has had so many antibiotics over time that isn't good. My pleurisy was picked up in hospital after tests and the steroids worked quickly. Your so right to wonder and I hope I've helped. Hope your infection free for a long time to come!X

  • Agreed!

    Over the years my husband & I have been diagnosed & treated at our various surgeries based on examination & history without lab tests. Both our pleurisy experiences were treated without lab tests, but I should've posted that I did have a chest X-ray....although my husband didn't. My abiding impression is that quite often when gps feel confident, they'll tend to treat without lab tests until a patient doesn't respond to treatment....then further tests & referrals happen....and unusual patients with unusual conditions often have a harder time as a result

    Anyway, my Rheumatologist is confident i've actually had pleurisy (and I've researched enough to feel convinced I have had pleurisy), and because that antibiotic treatment worked eventually I sort of think: ok. But, now my lupus diagnosis & treatment process is well underway, it feels right to learn more about how we tend to be treated for specific conditions I was diagnosed with & treated for before my lupus was recognised

    Thanks again. xo

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