Following on from my previous post about my treatment, I’ve decided it would be easier if I wrote about my medications separately. Throughout my life I have taken so many tablets – it actually blows my mind. So on a daily basis I take 79 tablets and this isn’t including antibiotics or steroids. That works out to 28,835 tablets a year!! Now I can’t lie, I really don’t mind taking tablets, some people (like my sister) absolutely hate it, not me. Then again, I guess I don’t know life without tablets!
I’m going to start with the longest going tablet that I have and that is creon 10,000. (There are so many different types of creons you can take and the majority of people with CF take creon 25,000) I usually take about 12-14 with a snack and 15-17 with a main meal. Basically creon is a pancreatic enzyme supplement that helps our body digest food and I take these before I eat any food. I have no memory of my life without these tablets, as a child I use to have to open the tablets up and mix it into a yogurt when I take them. The only main side effect I get off these tablets is that I frequently get a swollen stomach every so often.
Another tablet I seem to be taking for the rest of my life are vitamins. People with CF aren’t able to get many vitamins in their body naturally, so we are given tablets to take as an alternative. I have always taken every vitamin growing up but for the past 5 years I have only needed to take vitamin A&D. The last few blood tests I have had, its shown that my vitamin D levels are low. Therefore I have been given an extra vitamin D tablet that I take to try and boost this.
One of my favourite tablets to take and it’s my ‘salt tablets’ as I call them, known as sodium chloride tablets. Salt for CF patients is very important as it helps your muscles and nerves working. We lose more salt in our bodies through sweat, and in the summer you can literally see salt on my body. I know when my body is low in salt because I shake really badly and feel my body getting weaker. So I make sure I have loads of salt in my diet, including on everything I eat – you can guarantee that my food is covered in salt and I love it!! The amount of salt tablets I take solely depends on how hot the weather is, if I’ve done any exercise etc. I usually take about 4 everyday, but in the warmer weather it can vary from 4-10.
Antibiotics: we have all taken a form of antibiotics in our life time for something, but this can be a recurring thing for CF people to take. Any form of infection on the chest antibiotics help control and minimise this, however because we take antibiotics so frequently this can have it’s downsides as our bodies get use to the drugs. I, however, only take amoxicillin and flucloxacillin. I try to ensure that I only take these when necessary, or if the doctor tells me I need to take a course as my cough isn’t shifting, then I will. A couple of times throughout my life at the end of the 2 weeks course of antibiotic tablets they haven’t worked, so because of that I have had to go into hospital and have a round of intravenous antibiotics which is put directly through the vein so that the medicine can work quicker around your body.
Itraconazole is another recently new tablet, I have been taking this for 3 years now. I have suffered many infections on my chest and this is an antifungal medication which treats infections such as aspergillosis which is what I have. I will most likely be taking this tablet for the rest of my life due to my lung function decreasing massively every time I come off the tablet. The aspergillosis causes my chest to be very wheezy and also bring up loads of mucus of the chest which are like a funny brown colour (vile I know). Whenever I take this tablet I always ensure that I drink orange juice with this as it helps to absorb all of the medicine. I take 2 in the morning and 2 of an evening with these tablets. Also, If the itraconazole doesn’t work well, quite often I will have steroids for 2 weeks to help try and calm the infection on the chest. I haven’t had to take the steroids for several months now which is a huge positive.
Another wonderful tablet that I take is carbocisteine, this tablet is known as a mucolytic and what this does is help bring up mucus. I suffer really badly with not bringing mucus up off my lungs and this is what sadly caused my left lung to collapse last year as the lung was blocked from all the mucus which was triggered from the aspergillosis. Now this tablet has actually done wonders for me and does help me shift the mucus off my chest. I take 2 in the morning and 2 of an evening on these and I would definitely recommend if you suffer from not being able to bring mucus up to discuss with your doctor about starting a course. This medicine also comes in a liquid form, however I can happily take hundreds of tablets a day, but I cannot take a liquid medicine as I gag so badly.
I believe this is all I am taking at the moment, it’s so hard sometimes to keep track of everything. I take things daily like inhalers etc but I thought these are my everyday tablets that I will continue to take forever I believe. So many people with CF take all different tablets as well, I’ve been on more in the past when I’ve caught other infections or if I’ve trialled a new tablet but it hasn’t worked for me.
I hope this has helped you learn more about what our daily tablets we take are.
Girl With The Long Hair x