Treatment Tips from Other NTM Patients

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This is not meant as an endorsement, but the following products have been reported as helpful by members of our support groups. Consult your physician.

Biotene toothpaste/mouthwash/gum/moisturizing gel for dry mouth. These can be found at Wal-Mart, Costco, most drug stores, and other retailers. Biotene is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

Probiotics (including acidophilus) help you tolerate the antibiotic regimen and prevent yeast overgrowth as well as gastrointestinal upset. Some patients find a particular probiotic too strong for them. You can try different brands, or you can try building up to a tolerable dose. Remember that your body's natural load of healthy bacteria tend to be below normal when taking antibiotics, and particularly during a prolonged course of treatment, you might need to start at a reduced dose of probiotic and work your way up to the full dose.

Symptoms that might be associated with too much probiotic intake include bloating, cramping and gassiness. Generally your body will adjust to the new levels of healthy bacteria as the probiotics replace what has been lost.

Ginger or ginger snaps may also help with gastrointestinal soothing.

Nutritional supplements such as ScandiShake® for increased weight gain www.scandishake.com or www.axcanscandipharm.com and Ensure® or Boost® for added nutrition.

Nasal wash products: NeilMed Sinus Rinse® products: www.sinusrinse.com or www.neilmed.com.

Patients are often advised to limit contact with water vapor and dusts that often harbor mycobacteria. Your doctor may advise you to avoid showering, gardening, potting soil and orchid mix, fountains and lawn sprinklers, and especially hot tubs and indoor pools. For those who do not have elderly, children, or guests in their home, it has been suggested that raising the thermostat on the hot water heater from 120° to 145° may reduce a person’s exposure to these bacteria.

There is a rubber sleeve that fits over a PICC line during showers and keeps the area completely dry. It works by allowing the patient to pump air out of the sleeve, keeping it air-tight. Prices generally range from $35 to $40, depending on size.