21,346 members25,083 posts

Lower immunity - Due to drugs?

Due to our body defences being lowered as a result of taking RA drugs, does anyone find they suffer from reoccurring infections or colds. I used to be quite a healthy person, hardly ever getting a cold or infection of any kind, but seem to be getting water infections every few months, and wonder if it is because my immunity is not as it was before taking MTX.

6 Replies

Hi Wendy, yes since being on MTX for 2 years if I get even the slightest cold I am ill, before I just carried on but now I am knocked out completely for a day or two.

I get the flu jab now as my GP says getting the flu would be really bad as I get chest infections too.



it's a curious one, and I think it may well depend on the dosage and how many different immunosuppressant drugs you're taking, as well as your overallhealth. RA means that our immune systems go Into to over-drive, so some (not all) of the drugs work by calming down our immune systems.....but with some drugs I wonder whether that means that we end up being in the same place as people who didn't have RA? with some of the other drugs, like anti-tnfs, then they are stopping one specifci bit of the immune processes so I guess you end up with little immune protection?

I'm on triple therapy and I think Sulpha affects the immune system as well as MTX, but apart from the RA I have been completely healthy for last 3 years, not even a sniffle (fingers crossed!). And before RA I had pneumonia, bronchitis, TB and all sorts of other infections....

What I do know is that It's a good idea to have a flu jab every year,plus the pneumococcal vaccine. ANd you shouldn't take supplements such as Echinacea that boost the immune system.

But do you drink enough.....?



i used to pride myself of never having time off due to illness, I never seemed to catch cold, bugs or anything else going about but since I have started on to the drugs i catch everything from kids and work and i never feel completely well. I don't know if my overreactive immune system protected me from everything before hand (don't know if it works like that) and now that it has been lowered i am susceptible to everything.

There also appears to be alot more bugs about at the minute scarlet fever, slapped cheed, hand foot and mouth to name a few - thought most of these had died out years ago and yet all have appeared in some form or other in my family over the past year.

So another don't know but i am certainly more precautious now.


I am on Embrell for my AS but I have noticed my immune system is lower then before. I have a chest infection for which the GP prescribed an antibiotic. Now until I have finished the course (7 days) I can't take the Embrell. This is about the third time time I have caught this bug in a year so its a case of putting up with it. On the bright side Embrell works very well but it does say in the drug notes it can affect your immune system.

Regards Jezza


Me too....more coughs and colds than ever before. Just had antibiotics for awful cough. Was taking methotrexate until last week when GO asked me to stop due to affecting liver. Only on 6mg prednisolne now and really worried. Feeling so tired. Hope you stay well. It's a real struggle at times but at least you all understand. Take care x


Immune suppresents are a huge worry to me as I have had a chronic lung disease since babyhood, which entails nebulising bronchodilators and hypertonic saline and doing physiotherapy every day to get rid of the gunk my lungs, as if it stays down there it will become infected. Consequently I have frequent infections. Having loads of difficulty finding mediation which will ease my pain without effecting my lungs!!!!!!!!! Seems like an impossible task at present, although I have had some very helpful advice from some lovely peeps on this site.



You may also like...