Explain asthma medications

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 4/19/2008 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I am confused about asthma medications as I have never taken them before I got sick this year. Do most people with moderate asthma need to take steroid inhalers or are there other options? Do all steroid inhalers increase asthma related death? Are some safer than others? How do you know what kind of medication to be on or how much, do you monitor your symptoms or peak flow or both?
In my case my peak flow has been good, around 440-450, and I went from advair 250 twice a day to once a day. I still have shortness of breath no matter what alot of the time, and my rescue inhalers don't seem to bring relief. Actually my asthma meds in general don't seem to bring relief, even oral steroids don't relief it. It's frustrating and I have no idea how much medicine to take or how little.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 4/19/2008 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't have asthma but my son does. He has the coughing variety and seasonal asthma. He monitors his asthma with his peak flow meter and is usually around the 450 mark. When it gets to below that he uses medications. He is lucky that he doesn't have to be on an asthma maintenance med except around allergy season. He usually uses Asmanex (sp?) as his maintenance which I believe is steroid based, Singulair, Allegra and Albuterol is his rescue inhaler. All this has been approved of course by his doctor and if you should have any questions as to how much is too much or too little, it should be asked to your doctors since each individual responds differently to their meds.
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Another Day
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1055
   Posted 4/19/2008 12:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I totally agree with Sherry.  It's different with each individual.  For me it was very frightening when I was first diagnosed.  Are you seeing an allergist or a pulmonologist?
My asthma is severe, so even with all the medications I take, I am always going to get short of breath on exertion.  My grandchildren are 3,4 and 6.  I can no longer pick them up, no matter how much I want to.  Where I live now, my laundry room is downstairs.  If I make two trips down there, I have to use my inhaler.  It's just something I've learned to live with.
I remember how frustrating it was for me when I was first diagnosed with asthma.  Mine came on with a vengeance.  I remember asking my allergist how long it was going to take to get over it.  She told me about a month to six weeks.  What she meant was that round.  What I meant was forever.  Most often when you get asthma as an adult, you are stuck with it and you just have to learn to adjust your lifestyle to it.
I'm hoping you don't work outside the home on top of taking care of your children.
I agree with Sherry that you should go back to your doctor.  Just sit down with him and let him know how frustrated you are and that you don't really know how often you should use your controller medication (Advair) and express your concerns about the steroids.  I can give you my opinion, when it comes to breathing or not breathing, I will take the steroids any day.  You just need to tell him what you have told us because stress is a big trigger for asthma.
Please know we are always here for you.

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 4/19/2008 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks guys. It really does feel scary. I don't feel like I am functioning well now at all, I am always tired, sick, short of breath, and stressed out. And confused because I don't understand things like why my peak flows are ok and I still feel why I can't breathe, or why rescue inhalers don't make me feel better. I only wheeze slightly once in a while too, although I cough and gag in the morning and sometimes during the day.
I did a pulmonary function test and I am hoping my doctor will make a referral.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4415
   Posted 4/19/2008 8:41 PM (GMT -6)   

Advair contains Salmeterol, which is a long-acting broncodilater (opens the airway). It is the Salmeterol that has been associated with increased risk of worstening Asthma symptoms. The steroid in Advair is Fluticasone and it is not associated with worstening Asthma symptoms.

If your shortness of breath/Asthma has an infectious or circulatory system cause, the Asthma medications (steroids, broncodilators) may not help. I agree with Sherry & Cara that you need to be discussing your concerns with your doctor(s). I hope you are able to get a referral to a Pulmonolgist or Allergist ~ they have a lot more expertise than an Internist or GP.

Take care,
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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 4/20/2008 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Razzle. What do you mean by the asthma having an infectious or circulatory cause?
What other medication options do I have other than advair? Are there other good ones that do not have a side effect of worsening of symptoms?
I go to my doctor the week after this one and am going to try to get a referral.

Post Edited (Beachmom) : 4/20/2008 10:20:21 AM (GMT-6)

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