21,346 members25,082 posts

flu/ cold immuno suppressants, can you fight it?

I have had a head cold/ sore throat all week and generally just sickish! I was just wondering do I need an anti biotic because I am on Plaquinil Methotrexate & Humira, I mean is it necessary or could I fight it. I have used usual vit c paracetamol etc, still not well. Also, interestingly the chemist said not to take echinaecea, nor rec with these med as boosts immune system and they supress same! Did'nt take my 20mg mtx this week as usually they say to stop if suspect infection? Any thoughts?

9 Replies

Hi Gina, yes if you have a cold/chest infection/flu etc (wrong time of year for flu I think), don't take the MTX. the leaflet which accompanies it warns against that as it depletes an already depleted immune system and you need what little you've got left to fight the infection. Take your normal dose when you feel better at the normal time.

You will only need anti biotics if there is an active infection in your chest,sinus etc. You will know because of what you cough up or blow down! Sorry to be a bit basic. If sputum is green, or sinus are blowing green, then yes see your GP as that means an infection is under way.

If everything else is clear, you don't need anti biotics.

I was also told by our pharmacist not to take Echinaecea as it reacts with the drugs we're on already. Likewise, not to take Night Nurse, Day Nurse or any other remedy of that type.

Plenty of liquids, step up vit c intake,paracetemol for headaches and sore throat and a throat sweet to soothe. I also find sucking an ice cube helps as well. This info came from my pharmacist as well coupled with plenty of experience over the years particularly as I go down with everything going!

Hope this helps and you feel better soon. It is very true the saying, take a cold remedy and cold lasts 5 days, leave it alone and it still lasts 5 days!

LavendarLady xx


Hi Gina, I have heard about the echinacea, it can stop the MTX doing it's job!

Like you say you have one boosting your immune system and the other reducing it. Jo asked about this quite a few months ago.

Sometimes you can fight it off other times not, I find if I have anything like that it hangs around for weeks and I end up having antibiotics.

You may not have an infection now but it could lead to one of not treated properly. Like LL said anything green or brown isn't good!!!

Take care

mand xx



Hi Gina,

Have been wondering the same thing after a chesty cold thats lingering a bit too long, I found this following info on the arthritis foundation research site, with my pea size brain I have to read it a few times, but sort of makes sense;

Here goes......

Anolik and Sanz found that anti-TNF drugs disrupt the architecture of structures in our lymph system called germinal centers. These centers appear when we’re sick so that immune cells, like B cells and T cells, can swap information about such invaders as bacteria and viruses. The structures swiftly churn out lots of B cells, which the body uses to tag invaders for destruction.

In healthy people, once an infection is beaten off, the germinal centers fade away. But in people with a chronic autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, germinal centers stick around too long, preparing an army of immune cells that wreak havoc throughout the body.

“This is a critical piece of the immune response,” said Anolik. “Germinal centers are where crucial education of the B cell takes place – where they learn which cells to attack and which ones not to. Dysregulation in germinal center reactions may play a role in many autoimmune diseases.”

The team found that anti-TNF compounds inhibit the function and organization of cells that help form the germinal centers. They found that arthritis patients who received anti-TNF therapy had about one-quarter the number of germinal centers as other arthritis patients. The germinal centers that did exist were smaller and less organized. The team also found that the anti-TNF medication dropped the percentage of memory B cells in the lymph tissue by about 40 percent.

So, from what I see, being on an anti-tnf helps???

oh, hungry baby, have to go x


the pharmacists advice re echinacea is spot on I would have given the same advice!

Night nurse however just contains paracetamol and a drowsy anti histamine.. which acts as both a sleep aid and a decongestant.. this should not be a contra indicated product with methotrexate and ant tnf.. though it could be contra indicated in people with asthma. sleep aponea and in some cases high blood pressure,.


Thanks for all that girls, will do some diagnostic tests later on colour etc. Mostly just feel sick.

just took two elderly ladies out for lunch, hope did'nt pass on germs! Great advice from all,

I will have to read that one a few times Williby, read it to my mum, and she said 'sure I knew that', I said '' knew what and she said 'all that,' - lord help me with elderlies.!!! I said 'well maybe you could explain it to me', then she started talking to the dog!

Lem sips - vit C & bed early.

xxx Gina.


hehe your mum sounds a hoot :)

sorry, didn't answer your question at all but my dilemma was whether to take enbrel this week or not, I missed my dose of methetrexate and fear that the inflammation is coming this made me wonder, is the inflammation there because of my immune system kicking in to get rid of chesty cold or is it because I missed a dose of MXT? so in trying to find out I came across the info above.....


still not an answer, but what it does tell me (where is Lyn when you need her!!!) is that we still do have an ability to overcome infections although more difficult, the anti-tnf reduces the amount of tnf but does not completely kill it off, we have too much tnf thus leading to inflammation, I think.......or I am getting it all wrong, I really want to understand it all and need someone to explain it in terms I can understand.

so, I have been on honey (manuka) and lemon but have also added ginger in powder form, ginger is a natural anti-infammatary so gives it an extra benifit but also adds to the flavour, I dip a tea bag in for a few secs also, really soothing, helps keeps things moving if you know what I mean :)

Last thing, went to the doc for a check for chest infection (it wasn't) but also in reading my previous blood test he was able to determine if I did have any infection present and of course WBC, again he wasn't worried about the results so I was assured that I could 'fight' it off and not worry about it too much.

sorry, waffling on a bit again, hope I'm making sense xx

ps excuse the spelling


Yep me too with Manuka, natural anti biot properties apparently! have it on my cereal and extra teaspoons of it in lem sips at moment. Have appointment with GP 9am Monday morn, think I will prob get chest infection feels like that now, seeing ortho Consultant at 11pm on Monday also! Typical waiting months to see him and now unwell to boot. just as an added moan, my knees are sore! you have to laugh or else you'd cry. :)


Ive been told that on metho & sulphasalazine I cannot take any over the counter medicines for a cold even Lemsips so I make my own with honey, lemon juice, hot water and paracetamols. On the last two occasions I have had a colde/flu I have had to be given antibiotics.


The correct advice is to check any over the the counter drugs with your pharmacist... obviously telling them what you are taking..!

Lem sips which are vile tasting , and depending on sort purchased contain paracetamol. possibly , caffeine and a weak decongestant..these are safe with methotrexate.. I often make my own with lemon and honey because it tastes better that is the only reason.. and if any one is scared of the taking lemsips then do this.. olbas oil is good as a natural decongestant.. Pharmacists are well trained and have drug knowledge.. so any one not sure of something however trivial you think it is.. pop to your local chemist and ask to speak to the pharmacist



You may also like...