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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

COPD or Chronic Bronchitis

08/17/2010

Question:

I am a 37 year old who never smoked not even once. I was on Orencia for my RA last year and I got bronchitis 4 times in one year. Is that considered chronic bronchitis, COPD or just a side effect from the Orencia? I am not on Orencia now. Would having bronchitis so many time last year make it easier for me to get it again this fall?

Answer:

You may have had infections that are more frequent while you were on the Orencia, which could explain the episodes of bronchitis last year. However, if one has never smoked, it is unusual to get chronic bronchitis or COPD. Frequent episodes of bronchitis can occasionally cause chronic lung disease, but having 4 episodes of bronchitis doesn’t mean you have chronic bronchitis.

You should watch and see if you have recurrent episodes of this. Additionally, if you are having symptoms of infections, shortness of breath, cough, or wheezing, then you should visit your doctor and discuss this. They may refer you to a pulmonologist and breathing tests and a chest x-ray (or CT scan) can be performed.

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Response by:

Karen L Wood, MD Karen L Wood, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University