Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

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Washington DC
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Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by Washington DC »

Dr. Marshall,

Thank you for creating this website. I read the article about you in Discover and realized I should try to seek your advice.

My name is Brian and I'm writing you concerning the link between Chlamydia (Chlamydophilia) pneumoniae (CPN) and adult-onset asthma/asthma. Some have comapared the current state of treating asthmatics, suspected of CPN infection, with antibiotics to the days when ulcers/H. pylori were quietly treated with antibiotics. CPN causes lung inflamation and can quietly spread even after short-term antibiotic treatments.

Dr. David L. Hahn (, a family internist, affiliated with the U. of Wisconsin has conducted many studies since seeing his own asthmatic patients improve after taking azithromycin beginning in the 1980s. He believes there is a link between CPN and asthma. He recommends a regimen of 12 weeks of azithromycin (jump start of 600mg per day for 3 days and then 600mg per week). I have had asthma since I caught a bacterial pneumonia, at age 18, in October 2000. Recently, a doctor tested me and found that I had elevated titers of CPN, mycoplasma, and legionaires (Dr. Hahn doesn't even recommend testing for CPN anymore since you could still see improvement and have regulars titers). I tried Dr. Hahn's 12 week regimen and added 4 more weeks to it. My cough and chest tightness virtually disappeared. Dr. Hahn said 50% of people see some improvement from the azithromycin. Of this 50%, some see the disappearance of all asthma symptoms and breathing tests rise. It could take up to a year to see the full effect of the azithromycin. Based on my results so far, I am a believer on the treatment of adult-onset asthma with antibiotics. In spite of controlled studies, the medical commuinity still does not accept long-term antibiotic treatment and does not provide enough funding for research. I am part of Dr. Hahn's open label and am followed for a year by survey, longer than most studies. Dr. Hahn is trying to work his way to a funded clinical trial.

My question to you Dr. Marshall:
What advice or recommendations would you give Dr. Hahn in pursuing more funding for clinical trial research? (If you wanted to contact him, his email is

I ask you this because I think he and the field are in the same situation as you and the knowledge of H. pylori in the 80s.

Also, after the initial three days of azithromycin (1800mg), I noticed my acid reflux/heart burn was gone. I think it was the probiotics which I began a week before the azithromycin and took thoughout the trial. Or, it could have been the antibiotic? I had acid reflux since age 18 (diagnosed at time of the pneumonia and was suspected as the cause of the pneumonia by one doc) and had been tested over the years for H. pylori. All blood tests were negative. My gastroenterologist thought this was interesting. What are your thoughts on the azitrhomycin vs. probiotic cure?

Thank you very much,


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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by barjammar »

Regards the idea of bacterial cause of asthma - why not? But these things are hard to prove. The rule is that if double blind studies are not done, then the government does not have to pay for it. Without payment, there is no incentive for the drug company to do a study - especially if the drug is generic.
So what to do? I suggest that asthma doctors do it with NIH funding. First have some evidence that a bug exists. This means baseline serum and PCR/microbiomic studies of sputum from patients. Do this survey in a pilot study of patients who are about to be treated and of patients who have been treated to see what turns up. If data looks interesting then include it in your application and you might be funded.
Then, in a big prospective study, take the same test samples but keep the results blinded; or do the actual testing at the end of the study when it will be cheaper anyway. Then, treat with antibiotic for a long time (I don't see that you can blind a macrolide - it tastes sour). Then see if the ones who are better actually had a sign of the bug in their first sample.
It is somebody's life's work. And if it fails then they have made no progress in their life. Sad! :(
Check the link below for information on hard-to-treat cases. Then search the forums for questions and answers similar to yours.

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by JennyHealth »

Hey there! I know I'm posting in an old thread, but I'm writing a paper on lung issues for my biology class. One of the prerequisites of the assignment is to observe and contribute to discussions concerning lung conditions and how they affect our way of life -- and so here I am!

Anyway, I'm rambling now. I just wanted to say that I found it interesting that there was a rather close link between Chlamydia Pneumoniae and Asthma. I'm well aware that Chlamydia Pneumoniae can cause major lung problems (more specifically pneumonia & lung cancer), but I never really thought about the link between Chlamydophila and asthma. It seems so obvious, but I've always associated Chlamydophila with more serious or terminal illnesses. I suppose Chlamydophila could cause the on-set of adult asthma. Most asthmatics discover they have asthma when they're rather young -- so the discovery of asthma later on in life IS pretty rare. Of course, the link doesn't seem that unusual when you observe the fact that both conditions (no matter the severity) have to do with lung function. Many conditions how long term side effects. . . .this probably being one of them. Both (asthma and Chlamydia Pneumoniae) and would probably require the use portable oxygen. Well, I've pretty much run out of things to say. Thanks for sharing these interesting facts. Now that I've got this info, I can further my research. I'm no scientist, but this biology course I'm taking is really interesting!

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by Tobiasgar »

As soon as people hear the name Chlamydia their ears shut down.They either don't hear or don't understand the second part - pneumoniae. They think of Chlamydia trachomatis, a common cause of sexually transmitted diseases. is the one that's not fun to catch...
Solve the problem of chronic inflammation, then, and a cure for atherosclerosis may come closer. But chronic inflammation is not restricted to the arterial walls. It appears to be the linking factor of many of these diseases. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Crohn’s disease (also suspected of being caused by bacteria) is an inflammation of the bowel. Ulcers are inflammations of the stomach. And so on."Ironically, this common feature makes testing whether a particular disease is bacterial more difficult. Applying antibiotics, as has been done for atherosclerosis and arthritis, is the obvious experiment. But many antibiotics are also anti-inflammatories, which makes the results ambiguous.
If, nevertheless, a wide range of diseases now put down to the general process of ageing do turn out to be infections, a new field of treatment will open. Over the past few years, drug companies have been reluctant to invest in new antibiotics. Soon they may change their minds. Vaccines against germs which have been regarded as unworthy of attention might also be developed if such germs are shown to cause serious diseases. In future, therefore, it may be possible to pop a pill or have a shot to keep you both free of heart disease and lithe of limb...
Last edited by Tobiasgar on Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Judith Feinberg
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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by Judith Feinberg »

Hi All,

An association between antibiotic exposure and asthma is accepted both by the medical profession and the Department of Social Security in the UK and the Health Department in Australia. However, general practitioners and the general public are either apparently unaware of this association, or have not drawn from it what I consider to be a logical conclusion; i.e. exposure to certain or all antibiotics for medicinal purposes, may actually cause asthma.

Antibiotics are known to have side-effects; 'allergic' reactions to antibiotics such as penicillin have been documented in medical literature for over forty years. The severity of these side-effects may range from a simple rash to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction which includes difficult or laboured breathing, which are also symptoms of an asthmatic attack. It is now time to reconsider whether the side-effects of antibiotics should any longer be described as 'allergies', implying that the problem lies with the patient rather than with the drug. It is time that we acknowledged that drugs producing an 'allergic response' are toxic, and in fact producing side-effects which are in many cases symptomatic of poisoning.

Some antibiotics which have been reported in the medical literature as causing asthma in certain individuals include penicillin, ampicillin, amoxycillin, cephalosporins, tetracycline, spiramycin, and erythromycin, other drugs and antibiotics have also been reported to cause asthma. These references which represent but a few of those published, have been selected to illustrate that a correlation between antibiotics and asthma has been reported from several countries, and can result from exposure in a variety of forms.

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by tossin »

It was very enlightening to read the views of so many people about the Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria and the adult-onset asthma. I am sure that the details here will help a lot of researchers like me in pursuing my study on this subject. Hope to read more information on his much debated subject in future also.
“Read Today, Lead Tomorrow”

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by ewford »

Sorry Judith, I do not agree. The use of MACROLIDES is far different than cell wall busting ABX. The general ill feeling after taking Macrolides is/are the release of Cytokines into the bloodstream causing a Herxheimer raction (Herx). Cell Wall Defecient bacterias have to be eradicated and immune systems boosted in order to get well/heal.

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by pauli2k »

Thanks a lot. I must say that you guys are great. You have really helped me in gathering a lot of information for my research.

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by Sahlie »

People with severe asthma are more likely to have antibodies against the disease-causing bacteria Chlamydia Pneumoniae than the general population and in some cases antibiotic treatment can greatly improve symptoms according to research.

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Re: Chlamydia Pneumoniae Bacteria - Asthma Link

Post by dlhahn »

I appreciate and generally endorse Dr. Marshall's analysis of what research is needed to confirm a mechanistic link between C. pneumoniae (and/or other atypical) infection and asthma.

Unfortunately it may not be feasible to diagnose C. pneumoniae infection prior to embarking on a randomized trial for the following reasons: (1) serologic techniques are not diagnostic for chronic infection and (2) even bronchoscopy may miss a sparse, deep tissue lung infection that may be all that is required to produce the severe asthma "phenotype." The recent NIH trial using bronchoscopy had to exclude severe asthma (the group most likely to demonstrate a positive rsponse) because it was too dangerous to bronchoscope them. Therefore I have advocated for randomized trials of severe asthma patients, with post-stratification on non-invasive biomarkers of infection. The primary aim of this type of study is to ask the question Does azithromycin work? This question can be answered rigorously without knowing the underlying mechanism. The secondary aim is to tease out possible mechanisms.

Dr. Marshall suggests going for funding to the NIH. Sadly, neither the NIH, nor its Canadian counterpart (the Canadian Institutes for Health Resaerch - CIHR) endorse the non-invasive approach: both have rejected proposals for this second type of study into azithromycin in asthma.

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