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Nivo and productive cough

Forums General Melanoma Community Nivo and productive cough

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      I'm 7 months into a  blind CT and believed to be in an Opdivo only arm. (Stage 3B, adjuvent tx)

      From about month 2, I have had a "productive cough" (clear phlegm).

      Never gets too annoying. But when I lay down at night I "wheeze and gurgle" lightly and have this weird little noticable extra aspiration noise at the end of exhaling that is like nothing I ever experienced. Maybe that's how we breathe, I just never heard it before.

      MD is not overly concerned and it has now been pretty constant for 5 months. Nothing discomforting or alarming as to pneumonitis, but something.

      I thought I read someone mention "wheezing" and nivo. So I am wondering if others are experiencing or have experienced this "light side effect", and whether it remained stable or dissipated after treatment stopped.

      The balance of my own Opdivo report, FWIW2U, is no meaningful side effects aside from thyroid medication now being necessary.

      Happy Travels,


      Dave S.



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          I haven’t experienced that, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If your immune system is in overdrive, then anything like that could be exaggerated.

            Hi Dave!  Glad you are doing fairly well overall.  Yes, though it is a bit hard to tell during this time of year in the midst of cold and flu season, it is very likely that you have developed a mild pneumonitis (which is only a fancy medical term to describe inflammation in the lungs) from your immunotherapy.  This occurs in many immunotherapy patients.  Initially, they were very worried about folks like me with known asthma taking it…but we down played that part  and carried on!!!  When on nivo for 2 1/2 years I can look back and see very clearly that I had increased problems with a wheeze and cough after infusions were administered.  I developed outright pneumonitis visible on scans (gives the lungs a look characterized as a "ground glass appearance" by radiologists) later in my course.  But, I, like many other folks, benefited by simple inhalations of albuterol via inhalers or nebulization.  You could ask your doctor to prescribe a basic albuterol inhaler to see if a couple puffs two – three times a day helps.  It won't cause you harm and if it works….you'll feel better!

            To answer your last question…my s/s of wheeze gradually worsened during my time on nivo.  However, after coming off of it (though I still have occasional problems given my status as an asthmatic) my episodes of wheeze have dramatically lessened!

            I wish you my best.  celeste

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