Saturday, February 5, 2011

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

I saw my GI doc on Friday to discuss the flare of GI symptoms that started on new year's, and he had an interesting theory: Apparently, people sometimes get too much of the "good" bacteria in their intestines, and it can cause similar symptoms to having the bad stuff. Who knew?

He said there's a test that can be done by analyzing the patient's breath after administering an enzyme, but that they normally just go ahead and give a special kind of antibiotic (Xifaxan), which has long been used to treat "traveler's diarrhea." (Not that I've traveled ...)

So I'm taking 550mg twice a day for two weeks. In theory, if the diagnosis is correct, my symptoms will completely clear up within the first week. If they don't, I'm supposed to call and then he's going to require a stool sample. (Ick! I definitely don't want to need to collect one of those!!) and do further testing. 

I told my GI doc that a magic pill that (allegedly) has no side effects and will make me feel better that quickly would be awesome. Then I asked about price, and he said it was the perfect price: Free (thanks to the 14 days worth of samples he gave me). :-) 

Keep your fingers crossed for me that it all works ...


SharonMV said...

Aviva - good news. the Xifaxan is quite expensive, for me the copay is $70. I have SIBO, which means because of my immune deficiency and constant use of antibiotics, I get an overgrowth of all the other kinds of bacteria in the intestines (mostly bad) that the antibiotics are not killing off). I used Xifaxan when my doc had some samples & it helped. Unfortunately my problem is a recurrent problem. I hope it clears up your GI problems & you can avoid the next step!


Aviva said...

SharonMV: Wow! I'm grateful that he gave me samples! I actually love my GI doc because he almost always has a huge number of samples to give me whenever he wants to put me on a new-to-me medication. (The downside of course is it means he's always prescribing new, expensive drugs which, if I'm going to be on longterm, becomes spendy.) I'm hoping this will work for me, and that it will be a one-time (or at least a rare) thing for me.

And I'm *so* sorry that you have firsthand experience with it to tell me about. :-(

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

I have a variety of reasons for the same problems. I wish it was bacterial overgrowth. sigh.

The hospital group I go to has a policy of no free samples I think because somebody died from too many undocumented and conflicting free samples. Sigh. So instead of forcing people to DOCUMENT they just quit giving them out. Glad you have a doc that lets you try the free meds before spending the $$$.