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    Old 06-05-2003, 08:59 AM   #1
    shannonkg
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    Unhappy Anxiety and Asthma

    I have seasonl Asthma which really has only gotten bad this year with pollen as high as it is. The DR put me on prednisone, advair and a combivent inhailer.

    Right up from the prednisone and/or advair has me feeling really sick to my stomach and panicky. I know these are the side effects of this medication but I can hardly function without feeling ill, shakey and near tears. I went back to urgent care to tell them about this and they gave me xanax but that makes me so tired that I can't take care of my kids.

    Honestly I'm scared to death about all this. I know if I don't treat the asthma that it'll just get worse but I can't stand this panic. The DR in urgent care practically laughed at me saying I'm on full treatment and there was nothing he could do.

    I can't live like this, I don't know what my options are and I don't have medical inusurance so everytime I go into the DR to talk to them about this it's costing me so serious money.

    Please help if you have any answers.

    Shannon

     
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    Old 06-05-2003, 11:46 AM   #2
    AngeInBoston
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    Hi Shannon, this sounds alot like what I have been going through for the past 6 wks or so. I had a bad asthma attack, and they put me on Prednisone, Flovent, Serevent and Albuterol. I turned into an absolute raving lunatic of Hot Flashes, trembling, and such severe mood swings that I would have Raving Temper Tantrums over the STUPIDEST little things, especially at my little girls, I thought I was losing my mind!! I naturally started taking Benadryl at night to try to calm me down because I was speeding like a bullet....and finally my husband told me to ask for Valium! It was a Saturday evening, and I called the after hours urgent care phone and DEMANDED that I was PSYCHOTIC with anxiety and demanded them to call in something to the late night pharmacy! After much discussion back and forth, I had to really convince them I guess, but I WAS very frantic and weepy...the Dr. on call DID call me in Valium...and it has been a Godsend!!! They took me off of the Prednisone much faster than the original taper schedule, but I'm still messed up...the effects stay with you for at least weeks....I can't get a straight answer....I fear I may be changed forever because of this! It was my third time taking Prednisone but the first time I'd ever conciously noticed the Psychoticness! And it IS a WELL KNOWN side effect....I just wish I had known about the wonders of Valium a week earlier and not had to suffer through those days of Hell that I did!

    Now they have me seeing a Psychiatrist to try to get my chemical levels back down to C-A-L-M.....I take Clonazapam several times a day, and if I go without it too long the raging and weeping comes back....it's like my emotions are all turned up full volume and I can be pushed over the edge so easily!

    I absolutely HATE Prednisone and hope I never have to take it again, but I understand I might have to next time my Asthma flares up. For now they have me as "Allergic" to Prednisone on my chart to raise the red flag. They say I was an extreme case....and thankfully not as extreme as the really psychotic people who go out and murder people...but still, it's rather frightening to realize your peace of mind is just really a delicate chemical balance that can be thrown out of whack so easily!

    Call your Dr. on the phone and tell him you don't like the Xanax and would like something else called into your pharmacy.....that way you don't have to keep paying all those damn copayments for Office Visits.....just stay aggressive....remember, it's the SQUEAKY WHEEL THAT GETS THE GREASE!!!

    Good Luck,
    ~Ange

     
    Old 06-05-2003, 11:47 AM   #3
    kellie2
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    Hi Shannon - Are you sure it's the medication that's making you so panicky and not the feeling of not being able to breathe? I ask because when I was diagnosed with asthma, I also was on Advair, Combivent and Prednisone, and I started feeling like you not from the medication but from the intense anxiety and scared feelings I was having from not being able to breathe right. And then it started going into panic attacks, which may be what you're starting to feel, and what I didn't realize is that I was going in a circle and one feeling was just feeding the other - I couldn't breathe, I started to panic, when I panicked I had a panic attack, when I had the panic attack it caused an asthma attack.....I actually ended up in the hospital because I got so bad and was just about where you're at now - scared, shakey, crying, convinced I was going to die if they didn't 'fix' me. And they did - they gave me Xanax, and Shannon, within 3 days of taking it, those feeling started to go away. Now, the prednisone was given to me right at the beginning of my symptoms, and it was for 5 days, so that didn't really figure into everything else that started later on. And Advair I wouldn't think woulkd cause this but the combivent might cause you to be shakey because it has albuterol in it, which makes me shake and my heart rate shoot up. Try not using the combivent as it's a rescue inhaler and is only meant to be used for an actual asthma attack, but the Advair should be keeping you from having the attacks in the first place because it's a controller. Gosh, you sound so much like me in the beginning, same exact feelings because you don't know what's going on. It takes awhile to get all of it under control but your feelings of being scared is what you need to control first. How much zanax did they start you on? My doctor gave me .25 mg, which is I think the lowest dose, and he told me to take one a day at night in case it made me sleepy. Which it did a little at first, not much though because it was only one at night, but your body gets used to it once you start it and that drowsy feeling goes away after 2 or 3 days. Anyway, he started me on one a day taken at night, and then I did start taking it twice a day for a couple of weeks when I started feeling better. And then I dropped down to a half a pill a day, which is really nothing but it did help. Sometimes it says to take 3 a day but my gosh, I would have been sleeping all day if I did that. That's why my doctor started me on only one a day to see how I felt, and that way it was helping me but I could still function during the day because I was taking it at night. And I'm going to guess that that's why they prescribed it for you, because your anxiety is getting out of control, just like mine did but you don't realize it, and it was making all my other symptoms worse. And also, talking to someone who had felt the same way helped me tremendously because I didn't feel so alone and lost through it all.
    Believe me, your feelings are normal but the anxiety you're feeling is probably making the asthma so much worse, and making you feel terrible all over. If you can take the zanax, it will help you, it really will. And if your doctor maybe has you on too high of a dose, ask him to lower it so it doesn't affect you that bad, because you really shouldn't be feeling anything from it.
    Let us know how you are, ok?

    [This message has been edited by kellie2 (edited 06-14-2003).]

     
    Old 06-05-2003, 01:22 PM   #4
    shannonkg
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    Well I went into an allergist today and am hoping I have a few things under control now. She did say that that Advair did have several side effects and put me on Singulair instead. I'm hoping this helps the problems. I also am not on Prednisone anymore but Pulicort (SP?) as well. Now it's just time to cross the fingers and hope that I can stop feeling so panicky. I have only been on adviar for a week so I'm hoping that the side effects I was experiencing will go away quickly since it hasn't been in my system very long.

    I think you are right when you say that the panic attacks bring on the asthma. That is completly true, but I don't think the panic attacks were just happening I really think it was drug related. I say this because I went off the advair on Tuesday because I was also trying to wean from the prednisone cause I thought that was what was making me sick. Anyway the next day I felt pretty good, my chest was a bit tight but no panic attacks and no nausous feeling. Then wednesday I took the Advair all day and it was this morning at 2AM that I had that panic attack again. So it really makes me think it was the adviar. I wasn't having panic attacks prior to this medicine so it really makes you question.

    I know the combivent makes your heart racy but that doesn't seem to effect me that bad. I can handle a racing heart but heartburn, nausea and shaky panic I don't deal well with. I'll let you know in the next couple days how these new things seem to be helping.

    Thanks for your comments. I'm ready to nip this thing in the butt and feel better!

    Shannon

     
    Old 06-06-2003, 12:20 AM   #5
    inya
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    Reading all your comments have had quite a calming affect on me. I want to the hospital today because my "broncitis" was not improving. I was diagnosed with Bronchial Spasms. I have been suffering from alergies all my life, diagnosed with "allergy induced asthma 15 years ago. I use albuteral only. In the hospital I was given a breathing treatment, 60mg of prednizone, and a new script for antibiotics. I took the antibiotic when I got home. I have been sick ever since. Upset stomach, sweats, chest tightness, fear, panic. I too use xanax for panic disorder. .5mg at least. I am way past the sleepy stage. What are some opinions on a at home nebulizer?
    Jack

     
    Old 06-06-2003, 08:14 AM   #6
    shannonkg
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    Jack

    Yes it's VERY comforting to know that your not going nuttso and that it really could be the medication that is making your ill! I was so worried that my panic attacks were coming back and that I wouldn't be able to control them without medication which I was not very happy about. The best step I took was going to an allergist yesterday and discussing with her how I felt. Mind you, it really helps to find an allergist who will take the time to sit down and really talk to you about things and not shoe you out the door like everyone else.

    Like yourself I ended up in urget care because of my breathing. I've have very few problems with it and then this allergy season for some reason it just went nuttso. After I got feeling ill I went back again and the 2nd DR that I saw said I was on full medication support because I was SOOOO sick and that there wasn't really anything else they could do. Again I felt panicked cause now I'm thinking either I am severely sick with panic or I'm going to have an asthma attack. Of course the panic made the asthma worse so it was defeating the purpose. The allergist on the other hand put me on some new medication that isn't supposed to have the side effects. I was breathing really well yesterday with only a couple moments of feeling like I needed to catch my breath but not the tightness I had been feeling or that feeling that someone is trying to choke you.

    A nebulizer may very well be a good idea for you and I wouldn't rule that out. When I talked to a nurse about how sick I was she say the benifit of my breathing better was reason to keep going on all those meds that were making me ill. I feel that was a very uninformed answer on her part. Personally I feel if a medication is making it to where you are that sick and that unable to function that your having a serious side effect and need to stop taking those. Don't forget though you have to wean off of prednisone so don't just stop taking it, but DO talk to an allergist and get some straight answers. It's really not fair to feel that panicked or that ill!

    Best of luck to you. My body is still adjusting a bit and getting the old medications out and I hope to continue feeling better in the week to come. I think it's going to take a while to calm down my nerves after this whole ordeal though!

    Shannon

    [This message has been edited by shannonkg (edited 06-06-2003).]

     
    Old 06-06-2003, 06:27 PM   #7
    chemicaldreamer
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    You have seasonal Asthma, and your doc put you on prednisone? The side-effects you mentioned, feeling sick to your stomach and panicky, are common side-effects of prednisone. I would go off that if i were you (it'll make you gain weight too... and long term usage will weaken your bones).

    If you only have seasonal asthma, take Flovent twice daily (advair is crap imo), and the combivent whenever you have an attack.

    I can't believe your doc put you on prednisone for just seasonal asthma.

     
    Old 06-06-2003, 10:49 PM   #8
    AngeInBoston
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    I HATE Prednisone SO much, I hope I never have to go on it again....I'm even refusing to take the Flovent inhaler because I don't trust ANY steroids in me right now...and I'll NEVER take that Serevent again....it gave me the jitters SO BAD, amplified the anxiety a hundred fold, made me all trembly.....I guess I'll just stick with my very occasional use of Ventolin only when I absolutely have to because it scares me too, but not as bad. (One time at home with my Nebulizer last year during a bad Attack, at 6:00am I OD"d on the Ventolin, and OMG I thought I was gonna have a heart attack right there! I was shaking and sikc and my heart felt like it was pounding out of my chest! I almost called 9-1-1. but called Dr. Office emergency #...and they talked me out of 911, just told me to rest...after about 90 scary minutes I was finally feeling better.

    I still say, that ALOT of all this Anxiety you all are feeling IS because of the speedy medications in the Asthma meds.....and you wouldn't believe how wonderful a counter attack of Valium (or whatever derivative--I'm on Clonazapam) can be!

    Good Luck!
    ~Ange

     
    Old 06-07-2003, 01:45 PM   #9
    charleyhorse
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    It a real love:hate relationship with a lot of asthma medications. If they do their job and get your airways open you are probably going to end up with the 'jitters' at the very least. There are no asthma medications that do not have a long list of side effects ... But please remember that most side effects can be managed and are usually temporary. As someone else suggested - make your doctor listen - you should not have to just bear the side effects. The side effects of not breathing are much more serious so please don't just drop the meds. People die from asthma and most of them did not realize how much trouble they were in until the last minute.
    Barb

     
    Old 06-08-2003, 04:11 AM   #10
    inya
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    I will not just drop the meds.
    The er doctor put me on a "short course" of prednisone because he felt it would help with the swelling of the broncial airways. 4 days only.

    The albuteral I seem to have for ever.

    Can anyone give any advice on preventitive meds?
    And the at home nebulizer?
    jack

     
    Old 06-08-2003, 09:19 AM   #11
    shannonkg
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    Jack,

    The preventative medicines I'm on right now are singulair and Pulmicort. The Pulmicort is like prednisone only in an inhailed form. I haven't noticed any side effects besides a bit of a sore and dry throat.

    The Singulair is for long term control and thus far I am also tolerating this very well. I would highly recommend this over the Advair cause if you look on this board there are a LOT of complaints about the Advair and it's side effects. It contains Serevent which can increase your heart rate and for me just made me feel really sick to my stomach.

    As for the nebulizer that is like a beefed up version of your rescuse inhailer. Generally they contain something like albuterol. If you can get your ashtma under control with the short course of prenisone I don't see where you should need the nebulizer treatments but again that's all up to your DR. If your lucky you won't need it and can have a resuce inhailer like Combivent or Provental on hand in case of an attack.

    Either way it's best to discuss all of these options with a DR who really knows something about asthma and not someone who just give out "the norm" cause this doesn't always work for everyone. I'm glad I didn't just take the advice of someone who said that we have to live with the side effects of these drugs because it helps our breathing. I was told by my allergist that we should be able to control our Asthma with no significant side effects from our medications. Hope your breathing easier soon.

    Shannon


     
    Old 06-08-2003, 01:35 PM   #12
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    chemicaldreamer, i know you are entitled to your own opinion, but don't trash a medication just cause it doesn't work for YOU...i have several medications that have really reacted when i took them, and albuterol was useless for me until i went on long term dialators (advair and singulair). there are so many ways to treat asthma, and just b/c a certain med doesn't work for your specific problem doesn't mean that it doesn't help alot of other people...before advair and singulair my breathing was a mess, and i can always tell when i miss one or the other, so i know they're both playing a role in it all...

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    Old 06-08-2003, 07:18 PM   #13
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    I think this discussion just underscores the fact that asthma is a very personal disease and everyone has to find their own 'coctail' of wonder drugs. Unfortunately, one prescription just doesn't fit everyone. Jack, the most common preventative meds are the inhaled steroids (pulmicort, flovent and the combination puffers such as Advair which contain one of these steroids plus a long-acting broncodialator). The other route to go is with Singular or Accolate which are not steroids and work in an entirely different way, although they also reduce the inflamation which causes asthma. These meds don't work for everyone but if they do, they give you an alternative to inhaled steroids. Prednisone, as you know, is the 'big guns' reserved for when the dr believes your asthma could become life threatening. Your 4-day course sounds quite appropriate.

    The other (probably most important) step in prevention is to discover what your triggers are and try to reduce exposure. This will vary greatly depending on what your personal triggers are -- allergies, irritants, respiratory infections etc. It can take a while to put the puzzle together sometimes.

    As far as nebulizers are concerned - I have an at-home nebulizer. I only use it when things get really nasty -usually just before and just after I end up in the hospital for two weeks Yuck! The nebulizer is expensive, time consuming and a nuisance ... but if your lungs are so closed up that you can't get the other medication into your lungs, the machine can help a lot. Most hospitals still use nebulizers when people arrive with a several attack. Researchers tell us that we get just as much medication out of a puffer with a spacer - but then most of these researchers have never had an asthma attack ... personally, when things get ugly, I appreciate the nebulzier. I would just hate to have to use it all the time. good luck

    Barb


     
    Old 08-18-2003, 04:46 PM   #14
    jannywu
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    Shannon, et al, I just can't wait to let you all know that I was /am also troubled by taking Advair. I was out on to this Advair by my doctor for a very mild Asthma (free sample from his office) on July 10th. I started to have anxiety / panic feelings about a week later which I did not pay attention. At the beginning of Aug., I felt a lot worse - more frequent anxiety attacks happened day and night, I also felt sick to my stomach and constantly warring about how ill I was and was near tears all the time…I called 24-hour nurseline and I was even connected to a consoler! Well, I know in my daily life, there had been no change which would cause such stress, so it got to be the medication. Two weeks ago, I went to see a different doctor and he suggested to only use once per day of Advair. But I could no longer stand the feelings / symptoms which mostly related to the anxiety attacks, so I went to see him again and he allowed me to be off Advair totally! At the same time, I carefully read the information sheet in the package and found out that the side effects are scary - Neurology: sleep disorders, tremors, hypnagogic effects, compressed nerve syndromes. Psychiatry: Agitation, aggression, depression!!! If my doctor would let me know these side effects, I would never ever try Advair. I don't even drink coffee!!!

    Now I have been off Advair for 6 days, and am feeling much better. I do still have some light anxiety feelings daily but I know I can control myself. The drug is going to be in my body for few weeks and I hope I will be completely off such feelings soon. For all of you who have the same experience, please talk to your doctor, find the information sheet (you can easily find this 34 page long document on line by typing "Advair"), and point out the words to him/her - I doubt they read the information sheet completely and this drug is considered very new.

    Good luck!

     
    Old 08-18-2003, 05:28 PM   #15
    Mary Grant
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    Everyone: as a ten-year asthmatic, I've been around the block with meds. One thing sticks out big time: prednisone is nasty, no doubt about it. It can be prescribed in 5 and 10 mg doses. I suggest that you try the 5 mg first. With bad asthma, I take 40 mg (eight pills) but I've found I can get on my feet with 30 mg, decreasing the dosage to 1, then 1/2, nothing, next day 1/2, nothing, the last half, then nothing. I, too, have had intense reactions to prenidsone, chiefly in the anger category, and of course the jitters goes along with all this stuff-especially Combivent. So it helps me a lot to remember that if I do have to take prednisone, I make no long-term decisions; I tell my boss I'm on it; and above all, I try to remember that it's the medication, not me, that is the problem. This helps the anger and I know it will be over in a week. The doctors don't tell you younger and newer people to this dread disease what these meds do, but try the lower dose for a shorter period of time and see if that works.

    After ten years, I'm still trying all sorts of med combinations with the ever-lasting hope that someday it will be under control. Don't despair. This disease presents so differently in most of us.

    FYI: I've been on Advair for a couple of years--I have no problem with it and I am a type A personality with a very demanding job. If I'm having trouble med wise, it's because I've used too much.

    Take care, each and every one of you.

    Mary

     
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