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Old 11-18-2004, 10:06 PM   #1
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Poor asthma control

This is kind of a long history, so if you just want to see my question, scroll down...

I have had asthma for many years now. I started allergy shots about three years ago, and that led to a huge improvement in my asthma symptoms. I moved to a new state last fall and got a new allergist. They retested me and reformulated my shots and I had to start back at the beginning to build up again. I am now at maintenance on one and almost there on the other shot. I have been living with cats since I moved out here, so that hasn't changed. I know that you are just going to tell me to get rid of the cats, but that just isn't an option. I never let them in my bedroom, though. In the fall the doctor changed me from flovent once a day (I can't remember to take it in the morning). She put me on singulair and then zyrtec as needed. I noticed a dramatic increase in my asthma symptoms last spring, and started needing my albuterol inhaler at least once a day, often more. I went to the allergist and he told me to go back on the flovent (well, first he put me on q-var, but the first two (and only two) times I took it I had a horrible reaction and it caused an asthma attack so bad I almost called 911, so he told me to go back to the flovent) and gave me a five day course of steroids. This caused an improvement for a few weeks but then it went back to the same as before. I ended up having to stop taking the flovent because ever since my reaction to the q-var I was having spasms when I took any other inhaler (including albuterol, which was an issue). I went back to the allergist and he diagnosed me with GERD and told me to take prilosec, and gave me a spacer. That has helped me be able to take the flovent again. Still, though, my asthma is not really under control. This is very frustrating after having it be very well-controlled (only needing the albuterol maybe once every 2-3 months).

Right now I am on singulair and flovent daily and allegra and albuterol as needed. I am wondering if anybody knows of any other daily medications that would be better at controlling my asthma. The flovent just doesn't seem to be doing much for me at all. Any suggestions (besides getting rid of my boys, because it isn't going to happen!)?

 
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Old 11-18-2004, 11:02 PM   #2
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Re: Poor asthma control

Sometimes long-acting bronchodilators such as Oxeze or Foradil or Serevent can help take the edge off when you're having a particularly bad bout of control. It's like having some Ventolin on board except it lasts for 12 hours instead of four. It's been very helpful for me.

 
Old 11-19-2004, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: Poor asthma control

Personally, I found Singulair made my asthma worse.... I use Advair. I also bought an air filter for my bedroom (I have dogs) which does help.

 
Old 11-21-2004, 12:24 PM   #4
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Re: Poor asthma control

It takes a long time for some folks to see benefit from allergy shots. Also, singulair doesn't work for me. That said, talk to your doctor about raising the dosage of your flovent and about the new drug for allergic asthma, Xolair.

 
Old 11-21-2004, 01:25 PM   #5
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Re: Poor asthma control

Xolair requires you to qualify for its use with a blood-tested IgE level somewhere in the 'astronomical' range.

Also please make sure your insurance will cover the ~$10,000-$20,000 a year it costs to administer.

 
Old 11-21-2004, 02:52 PM   #6
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Re: Poor asthma control

Xolair does not require "astronomical" IgE scores. There are people with scores around 100 who have been approved. Mine was 785 at last take.

Approval to get Xolair does require a history of recurring allergic asthma that is poorly controlled by inhaled corticosteroids (flovent, advair), allergy shots and other traditional therapies. The price is astronomical - $10,000 - $20,000 is a conservative figure. It's more like $18,000 - $36,000 dependent on dosage, so you do need to have health insurance, public or private, and be approved.

 
Old 11-22-2004, 01:32 PM   #7
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Re: Poor asthma control

There are people out there with near-fatal asthma whose IgE scores are not high enough to qualify them for Xolair. This is why I use the word 'astronomical'.

I apologize for ballparking the medical figure. The point I was trying to make is that it is not typically given as a frontline drug simply because of the cost -- your insurance company would be buying you a new 2005 fully loaded Ford Mustang every year, or equivalent.

 
Old 11-24-2004, 07:13 PM   #8
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Re: Poor asthma control

Quote:
Originally Posted by reader1
Xolair does not require "astronomical" IgE scores. There are people with scores around 100 who have been approved. Mine was 785 at last take.

Approval to get Xolair does require a history of recurring allergic asthma that is poorly controlled by inhaled corticosteroids (flovent, advair), allergy shots and other traditional therapies. The price is astronomical - $10,000 - $20,000 is a conservative figure. It's more like $18,000 - $36,000 dependent on dosage, so you do need to have health insurance, public or private, and be approved.
I've even heard that people with IgE levels of 30 have been approved.

Heh, sorry, just my two cents.
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Old 11-30-2004, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Poor asthma control

I also used Singulair for a short time and my asthma got worse. I use Advair now and it has really helped control the symptoms. It does speed up your heart though. I have heard that an air purifier does wonders for asthmatics. I'm going to invest in one eventually.

 
Old 12-14-2004, 09:20 PM   #10
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Re: Poor asthma control

Well, things got really bad this weekend when I caught a cold. I woke up this morning hardly breathing at all. Fortunately my allergist was able to get me in tonight. He switched me to advair and gave me a course of prednisone. So here we go again, trying something new. But it seems like people have good things to say about advair, so maybe it will actually help.

 
Old 12-15-2004, 12:22 PM   #11
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Re: Poor asthma control

Well, I'm convinced. I woke up this morning and I could actually breathe. Still not great, but certainly better than the last few days and maybe even better than the past few weeks. I'm sold on the advair!

 
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