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Old 08-17-2012, 07:00 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Nebraska
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runner512 HB User
Trouble coughing up phlegm or phlegm stuck in lungs

Hello everyone,

I had a question for those of you with LPR as I'm not sure if what I'm experiencing is related to LPR/asthma issues - have you ever had times where you have had trouble coughing up phlegm or have had phlegm get stuck in your lungs? Yesterday I had an asthma attack where I felt like I was choking on phlegm that was stuck in my throat - when I usually have an asthma attack it feels like the analogy where I'm breathing through a straw, this time it felt like there was something obstructing the straw and I couldn't get it out. At times there was no wheezing, when I just couldn't feel like I could draw air in around the obstruction. It all lasted 5-10 minutes and I was about to go to the ER when finally my inhaler kicked in and I was able to cough hard enough to cough up the phlegm, but it was a frightening and exhausting experience. This was in the afternoon and I think I had refluxed the night before - I had a dinner that included avocados and sweet potatoes which may have been hard for my stomach to digest - as I woke up a bit wheezy and coughing but I didn't have a productive cough at that time in the morning. Asthma attack began after I had walked a couple blocks to my car then drove to the dental office, nothing too strenuous.

I am trying to taper off omeprazole 20mg and for the previous 4 days had reduced my dosage to once a day - could this be related? I had been excited because I didn't think I was getting acid rebound, unlike last time when I tried to taper off omeprazole, my peak flows have remained in my green zone and I'm on Ginger tabs this time, though I continue to be congested and wheezy when breathing out into the peak flow meter. The last time I felt like I was choking on phlegm and had a hard time getting it up was last summer when I was tapering off omeprazole too but not sure if this is a coincidence. Last summer I got tired of the chronic shortness of breath I was experiencing in the 4 weeks of tapering, peak flows constantly in the yellow zone, and went back to my usual dosage (20mg 2x a day). In April I had a plug of mucus removed from my left lung that had caused my lower left lung to collapse, even though I had been taking omeprazole twice a day so evidently I am having trouble getting rid of mucus.

Not sure what the next step should be - continue to try to taper and get my vitamin D levels up (they are 25 and my general practitioner thinks that may be one of my main problems, & he and ENT wants me to get off PPIs) or see pulmologist or do I need to be on a stronger PPI so I can heal from reflux?

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:31 AM   #2
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Re: Trouble coughing up phlegm or phlegm stuck in lungs

It could be from the taper. Tapering can be rough on the body in a number of ways, unfortunately. Are you using anything to get through the taper? I took Zantac 150 twice a day for a while, then gradually reduced the Zantac dosage. Expect it to take a month or two for your body to fully adjust to the reduced PPI dosage, by the way.

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Old 08-19-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Nebraska
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runner512 HB User
Re: Trouble coughing up phlegm or phlegm stuck in lungs

Thanks for the response! Yes, tapering might have been a contributor last week. I had also quit taking Singulair which is supposed to reduce inflammation but since the attack I'm taking it again. If I seem to have trouble coughing up mucus again I will try something like Zantac during the tapering. That's the only issue I've had so far. I will also read more about yours and others' experiences for helpful hints if I have a hard time with tapering.

My new general practitioner has me on all sorts of supplements such as Vitamin D3, fish oils, ginger, a multivitamin, Maitake mushroom plus Vitamin D and B12 injections for the last few weeks so I'm hoping once those kick in they will help with my LPR.

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