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Old 04-24-2008, 09:15 AM   #1
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Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

This may just be me wishing to vent-however, I want to see if anyone else has had any luck with asthma just going away if you try to exercise/eat right and NOT use any inhaled steroids?? Just a thought.

I have a long history with an allergist (saw an ENT years ago but he said it was allergies and I needed to be tested). Got tested/bloodwork, whole 9 yards. I had not had any of this done and had suffered for about 5-6 years with it. I found I was allergic to some things, and got on Zyrtec- and later, Cyproheptadine and Singulair and also various nasal sprays-all of which cause my nose to bleed and get sore. Plus, raw throat. I just can't do the nasal sprays. So, I tried with my allergist for about 2 years however- since beginning allergy immunization treatment in summer of 2006 I have constantly got sick nearly every 3 months with "sinus infection". Treat with antibiotics and steroids (horrible prednisone that I am convinced is the Devil's own spawn) and repeat repeat....nearly every 2-3 months. I almost got worse on the shots. However, Dr kept saying my levels were improving. But I felt worse.

Now, I am seeing a Nurse Practitioner....I realize this is not the same thing as a specialist but there is an Allergist there available. I went to see the NP for the first time and she diagnosed me w/ asthma. My old allergist kept saying I had "re-current symptoms" of asthma but not exactly full blown however he would put me on Advair for a little while and I feel I got WORSE after ceasing that medicine....it was just too expensive even w/ health insurance to take! I did not find it to help, however the NP thinks it will over time long term. I am just concerned with being on an inhaled steroid like that. Yuck!

She has also began to treat me w/ a course of antibiotics (Biaxin which I have taken once before when I was near death sick-it helps but its such a nasty one that my stomach does not react well to it). I'm trying to stick it out with it as I am getting better w/ the stomach problems on day 2 already. I also worry that being on all these antibiotics has made me immune (already) and that may be why I never seem to get better! I feel like i'd sound like a hypo if I tell the NP this though. She seems very thorough and has done 2 nose cultures on me, plus had me inhale albutrol to see if it helped w/ the lung functioning and it did, but I only improved by 17% but still.

So, I guess I just wonder...has anyone else gone through the ringer with all of this and decided to just STOP the meds? Any luck at all? I would like to hear others' stories. Note: I did get bronchitis a lot as a child, was around all of the allergens I'm allergic to right now though never was tested as a child, but allergies runs in my family.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #2
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

I would strongly recommend against stopping the medication and trying to manage your asthma with diet and exercise - asthma kills more than 4,000 people every year in the U.S. - it is not something you want to mess with.

As for the meds, is there a particular reason (other than price) that you're concerned about the inhaled steroids - they're very safe and get the medication to the place where it's needed most with very few side effects - nothing like the oral kind (which nobody really likes taking).

 
Old 04-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Well, gcsmithjr,

It is mainly two reasons I don't want to stay on Advair at least for the rest of my life...

1. Concerned about the long term effects and also side effects listed in the brochure. I pretty much got all of them from Singulair and was first placed on both Singulair and Advair even though I was told-by that Dr. anyway-whose to say another would not have agreed, that I did NOT have asthma.

and...

2. I seemed to have got worse rather than better, after I began the Advair for a few months! I told my allergist this, but he said to keep using it, yet when I took myself off of it and told him it was too pricey and I also felt worse rather than better, he said, ok, no big deal, then don't take it-that my lungs had improved and I would hopefully only need Advair if I got bad bronchial infections (which I do fairly frequently, at least now more so than ever before in my life since trying to actually be treated for all this).

Maybe a different type of inhaler is needed, but it just seems to me that while I know prednisone is much worse on your body than the inhaled kind of steroid, it just seems that if you stay on something like that "indefinately" as the docs want me to do, that it would harm you eventually.

Also, I might note I have never had an asthma attack and rarely if ever get "breathless" although I DO when exercising! But, the only symptoms of it that I do have-if this makes any difference in diagnosing it- is the constant coughing/gagging/tickling in throat and sometimes a feeling like throat is closing up/I can't get enough air.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Based on that, I wonder why the NP diagnosed you with asthma at all. It actually sounds like you could have acid reflux - which can cause all of the symptoms you mention, is often misdiagnosed as asthma and which wouldn't be helped by Advair (steroids would actually tend to make it worse).

For most people with asthma the potential side effects of inhaled steroids - whether they're in Advair, Flovent or one of the other inhalers are nothing compared to the potential deadly repercussions of an asthma attack. As for long-term harm, inhaled steroids have been available since 1971 so they have a 47 year track record that's very good.

If you're wondering about the long-term benefit vs. reward, the best thing you can do is get a more definitive diagnosis that you really feel comfortable with. If you rule out the things like acid reflux that can mimic asthma and find you only have mild asthma that doesn't progress, you may be fine with a rescue inhaler that you only use once in a while (but you should definitely have one), but it's pretty common for people with mild asthma to have occasional flare ups when their asthma can't be controlled by a rescue inhaler alone.

 
Old 04-25-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Yes-she did ask questions, the NP, about acid reflux. I get that way (throat all gaggy and nasty and stuff "coming up" immediatly after eating!) Would it happen immediately, like that?

I think that she may suspect it because I told her that sometimes Rolaids when I do take them minimize it.

I will have to get a more detailed diganosis- to give you some #s, as you may know more about the Speromitry than I, I was breathing at 69% and then improved by 17% with the albutrol in the nebulizer (but it does seem to me that ANYone would improve if they inhaled that!)
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Yes it would happen immediately after eating - the food in your stomach is what triggers the production of acid. Rather than waiting for the spirometery results to come back you might just try taking PrilosecOTC every morning for a couple of weeks - if acid reflux is the cause of (or is contributing to) the asthma symptoms, you should notice an improvement within a few days.

 
Old 04-25-2008, 03:09 PM   #7
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Is Prilosec different than regular Rolaids? If so, how?
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:29 AM   #8
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

They're very different. Rolaids are made up of calcium carbonate and magnesium that help neutralize a small amount of the acid in your stomach.

Prilosec is what's called a PPI (proton pump inhibitor), and it actually stops the production of up to 90% of the acid in your stomach.

 
Old 05-05-2008, 08:00 AM   #9
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

UPDATE:

Just in case anyone may be going through anything similiar. An update: I go to see the NP and she is going to do the interdermal (sp?) testing for allergies. I had to go 3 days w/ no antihistimines, but did have to take benedryl because it got so bad. But the NP said this only stays in your system about 6 hrs so I should be okay for my testing this afternoon. I sort of hope they find something since I am still blowing my nose until the cows come home. Although finally, blessedly the head pain is gone and I am still having the gagging/breathing problems-but it gets much worse after I eat.....and when I take the Pepcid I do feel better but last night I did my Advair as instructed, then took the pepcid because I was constantly gagging even one hr after I had eaten, then I also took the benedryl becasue I started sneezing-I've sneezed three times this morning- but after that the gagging got worse rather than better! Perhaps all those meds at once had something to do with it.

I also wonder if, even though they are outside, if my dogs could still be making me sick, after all, I've had to take them places in the car and then their fur is in it though not in mine usually but still, I do wonder if I won't get better even having them outside!!
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Rush ruiz,

No meds are "safe", none! And I would be very concerned about steroids...do some serious reading about the short term and long term side effects. Some people don't have many choices, but if you do, I would seriously recommend looking at other options.

You asked about diet and exercise...in my reading I came across the "Mediteranean Diet" which is not a weight loss diet but the foods that people around the Mediteranean (forgive my spelling) eat. Researchers have found that people in that section of the world who eat a "Mediteranean Diet" have a very low incidence of asthma which has led scientists to "rethink" their theories about air pollution causing a high incidence of asthma in inner city children here in this country. ..they now are beginning to think that inner city children have higher rates of asthma than other children, not because of air pollution, but because of diet...they don't eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies. So, you might want to do some reading about the Mediteranean diet and it's impact on asthma and overall health.

The other info that I came across accidentally, is that many people with asthma, also have obstrutive sleep apnea...these two conditions often go hand in hand. They have found that treating the sleep apnea (with an cpap machine, no drugs) can reduce or eliminate asthma. Theorys abound but I"m not a chemist nor a biologist so I'm not sure I understand the biochemistry behind the theories. I do understand that the patients with asthma who are in my sleep disorders support group have said their asthma symtoms have gone away competely or have at least, lessened with sleep apnea treatment.

I'm sure exercise would be beneficial given the olympic athletes (swimmers and runners) that have gone in to sports to help their asthma symptoms. I've heard of professional dancers, going into dance for the same reasons.

You're smart to be looking at other options. Although meds may be necessary for some, it's a trade off...eventually, the piper will need to be paid.

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 05-05-2008 at 02:47 PM.

 
Old 05-05-2008, 06:39 PM   #11
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Rush Rulz-

Two quick comments. First of all, by all means read up on the side effects of Advair or other inhaled steroids, but I think you'll find that they are very minor - inhaled steroids have been available in the US for more than 25 years and are very safe.

Second, just FYI, obstrutive sleep apnea is not particularly common among asthma sufferers unless they are overweight, it is primarily a weight-related condition.

Finally, just wondering if you ever tried the Prilosec - it should help even more than the Pepcid if reflux is contributing to your symptoms.

Last edited by gcsjr; 05-05-2008 at 06:39 PM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 05-06-2008, 09:06 AM   #12
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Haven't tried the Prilosec. But, NP did put me on Nexium and said these drugs take a good while for you to notice a difference so to try it for a few months before I see if it helps or not. She also wanted me to try and stay off of the Rx antihistimines (I take Xyxol, formerly Zyrtec daily and have been for 2 years now), until my infection is cleared up. Regarding the allergy testing, more did show up, now that they did the different type of testing. I am also allergic to Rye Grass, Pigweed, and asperilligus mold. There are more though, since this morning my arm from yesterday afternoon still has (new spots that showed up later) welts. So, I will have to find out what they are. The Pigweed was by far the worst though. I was also switched from Biaxin to Levaquin, in hopes that my symptoms will diminish. The NP thinks that my symptoms cannot be all allergy related, since I have them constantly. Although, when I take the Claratin, I do not sneeze or experience runny nose nearly as much. But, if the reflux was part of the problem, then my symptoms would be worsened. Also, NP said asthma can be caused by the reflux, too.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:37 AM   #13
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcsmithjr View Post
... First of all, by all means read up on the side effects of Advair or other inhaled steroids, but I think you'll find that they are very minor - inhaled steroids have been available in the US for more than 25 years and are very safe....
According to the info posted on the the government's website, Medlineplus, [url]www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html[/url], Advair has numerous side effects... and the site also warns that the med "may increase the risk that you will develop glaucoma, cataracts, or osteoporosis...." I personally, don't consider this a particulary "safe" risk. Although this side effect may not be exerienced by everyone taking the drug, if you are the one who experiences the side effect it doesn't matter how "safe" the med is for others!

Quote:
...obstrutive sleep apnea is not particularly common among asthma sufferers unless they are overweight, it is primarily a weight-related condition.
This statement is false and misleading! I do not have the time to address it now but I will do so later.

Quote:
Finally, just wondering if you ever tried the Prilosec - it should help even more than the Pepcid if reflux is contributing to your symptoms.
I was on prescription tagamet, prilosec, or pepcid for over 20 years...but no longer take prescription or otc meds for reflux...but again, do some reading about sleep apnea, acid reflux, and asthma.

Bethsheba

Last edited by bethsheba; 05-06-2008 at 10:39 AM.

 
Old 05-06-2008, 10:49 AM   #14
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Thing about asthma medicine is this: Yes, it can have serious side effects. However, not taking it when really needed could have very serious side effects in the very short term!

 
Old 05-06-2008, 11:40 AM   #15
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Re: Diagnosed with Asthma-hate using Advair! On going medicine battle

Bethsheba:

11 people in the U.S. die every day from Asthma - yes Advair has side effects, but asthma can have much more serious side effects, including death so I don't think there's much comparison in terms of the risk.

As for your response to my comments about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, this is from the Mayo Clinic: "Anyone can have obstructive sleep apnea, although it most commonly affects older adults, men and especially those who are overweight." The NIH and many other reliable sources note the same thing - being overweight is the primary predisposing risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

 
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