Have you had lung function tests?

I've finally managed to see a respiratory specialist and I'm starting to get answers about my breathing problems. It's definitely not looking like the cause is infectious. Anyway, he asked if I'd had lung function tests prior to starting methotrexate. I hadn't. The only tests I had were an x-ray and TB blood test before starting anti TNFs. I'd been on MTX for 2 years at this stage. The consultant suggested that people should be having these tests to establish a baseline before starting on MTX and then again before biologic treatment if lung function hadn't checked for a while. This got me thinking and I am interested to hear your response.

21 Replies

  • I had to stop Methotrexate about a month ago as I became wheezy and had a cough. I only had bloods and chest x-ray done before it was added to Sulfasalazine in March. If I get wheezy again or develop a cough I will have to come of Mtx. Hope you get some answers soon and are feeling a bit better. x

  • I started Mthx 2 wks ago. Had my breathing test yesterday - its ok just s bit tiring having to keep breathing as hard as you can over and over again. As you say its to get a baseline for future reference in case you do get any infections. Bloods taken again.

  • Hi Crashdoll, my rheumie said that everyone he puts on mtx gets a lung function test before starting meds as it is best practice. I'm currently on inhalers as I have a cough but unclear whether it's hayfever/allergy related or mtx, seeing rheumie next week to see what the next step is. Hope all goes well for you. KMx

  • I've never been offered a breathing test or xray and have been on mtx on and off since 2012. Another case where I feel my hospital is failing to give adequate care. I Hope your breathing problems can be sorted out for you soon x

  • I only had a chest x-ray.

  • Gosh, this is a bit of a worry. My hubby already has COPD and started methotrexate on Monday after having a very bad reaction to Sulfasalazine. He only had blood tests and a chest X-ray before hand and the consultant was told about his COPD.

  • Sorry I didn't mean to worry you. I assume to get a diagnosis of COPD, he'd had some lung function tests anyway? Is he under a respiratory consultant?

  • Yes, had the tests at our Dr surgery 7 yrs ago, but only under the asthma nurse at the moment. I will certainly be keeping a watch for any breathing problems other than he has normally. I am worried though that the consultant didn't check his lung function first . I also have RA and take Sulfasalazine with no problems, and pressed for hubby to try them first, so very disappointed that he had such a bad reaction to them. It's such a hit and miss on how lucky you are with the hospital and consultant you see. My consultant is really nice and said she would se my hubby too, but when his appointment came through it was for a different consultant, who doesn't seem to listen , difficult to understand too. Am so glad I saw this thread as I am aware now , so will be keeping a watchful eye on hubby!!! Barbara.

  • I only had attempted lung function tests after I reacted to methotrexate with extreme breathlessness. It was certainly clear to me after the third attempt at staying on the lasted stuff that it was affecting my lungs and have stayed off it since and not a single problem. It was so bad and took so long to clear up the breathlessness that the LF tests were never carried thro as I couldn't even do the basics. It was definitely not an infection but a reaction to the drug. The rheumy did not really believe I was having such an adverse reaction to the methotrexate and even when he wrote to my go the history was wrong.

    Am on hydroxy now and much improved, with occasional prednisolone for flares.

  • I was overlooked somehow but when the nurse realised I was sent for it straight away; it was standard practise to have one apparently (along with a chest x ray). As katymary states, it best practise x

  • Hi Crashdoll, I too have long standing recurrent "chest infections" which usually last about 12 weeks and 3/4 lots of a/bs which don't work. Just yesterday I had a lung function test - came back normal, no asthma no copd. Doctor now thinks it is due to the auto immune disease. All I know is not having any more a/bs. Babs

  • Hi Crasdoll,

    I have lungproblems too. I have a mild longfibrosis, related to my RA. I also have had several pneumonias, so very good to go for the lung tests. They had to test you before starting biologicals on Tuberculoses!

    Wish you all the best!

    Xxx Bas

  • I had lung function tests before starting on mtx the last time 9 years ago (but not when I was on it some years ago). So the protocol may have changed.

  • Hi Crashdoll you have raised a very good point here as this important test seems to be very hit and miss. I have recently changed hospitals after a year on mtx and never had any tests other that chest x-ray. After starting with my new consultant I have this test last week after only a 2 months of seeing him, the guy who did it said it is routine and that people on mtx should be tested. So again it depends on where you live and who you see!! The test was tiring but I feel better having done it. Hope you feel better soon. xx

  • I had CXR and lung function tests when I first went to rheumatology (diagnosis at that point was lupus.) They said it was standard for everyone.

  • I have never heard of this, I am due to see my rheumatology next month and am going to ask about a lung function test. I had a chest x ray last year when I was told I had rd.

  • I did not have any problems with my lungs until I had been on MTX for 9 months. I had an asthma attack at work, which I thought was a heart issue at the time. I had never experienced an asthma attack before in my 50+ years of life! I had a pulmonary function test done and was diagnosed with asthma. I blame the MTX.

  • I only had a chest X-ray before starting MTX the first time. A few years later I was treated for Asthma for 3 years. A series of chest infections made my GP send me to the chest clinic where I had lung function tests and a CT scan which showed I had Bronchiectasis. I don't think it was caused by the MTX, as I was off it for 2 years and still had chest infections (pseudomonas usually). I've been back on it for one year now, and my lungs haven't got any worse.

  • Hello! I had a chest X-ray before starting methatrexate in feb and haven't had anything since x

  • I had chest X-ray and lung function tests before starting MTX.

  • I've been on mtx about 12 yrs - had a chest x ray at the beginning and a few since, but not regular. I began having lung function tests about 4/5yrs ago, and am now having them about every 18mths. Been diagnosed with mild pulmonary difficulties, which resulted in me not being able to have a general anesthetic for my knee replacement op in february this year.

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