Asthma sufferers, catch your breath and gather round

I am pretty sure I have copd from years of smoking. So far I have never needed a resue inhaler but do find when I get bronchitis about once a year it seems to get worse each time. I am also finding myself using mucinex more often. I still haven’t completely quit smoking and am kicking myself in th ass as we speak. 1 day off the cigs and I feel tons better, 2 days with no cigs and I feel pretty normal. I am convinced I have a mental illness that drives me back to smoking, the positive results of not smoking are very clear and quick. I simply have no tolerance left for smoking.

It’s called “addiction”, and it’s a monster to get off your back.

Yeah, I can cope with occasional puffs of albuterol sort of okay. Two years ago, after I was in the ER that time, I was using nebulized albuterol at home several times a day for another week or two, and it made me jumpy but I managed to live with it. (Remember my thread on that?)

Last month in the ER again, they gave me nebulized albuterol to breathe and by the second treatment I was jumping out of my skin and bouncing off the walls. Then they switched me to Xopenex, and also [del]gave[/del] sold me a Xopenex inhaler to take home. DAMN, it’s expensive! $83.00 for 200 puffs! And my plan doesn’t cover it! :mad: I’ve been using it almost every day for the last few weeks while I’m recovering. It definitely does NOT seem to make me jittery.

If you think you know of a generic, tell us! My doctor is telling me that there’s no generic yet. If there was, I’m pretty sure my HMO would know, and be pushing it in their formulary.

I carried my own issues a little far.
My own asthma has greatly improved, without aspirin.
But yes, it may not apply to everybody.

When I was first diagnosed with asthma, my doc set me up for one-on-one “asthma school”, which the local hospital provides for free. The respiratory therapist there showed me the right way to use an inhaler for albuterol and other drugs.

I’ll skip a lot of that here, but I’ll tell you the one important question he said solves more asthma problems than anything else he could say.

Do you have a cat? If you have asthma, and you have a cat, chances are good there’s a link between the two. You might say, "I’ve had cats for years, why would it start bothering me now? Unlike some asthma triggers and allergies, sensitivity to cats will develop over the years. If you can bear to part with your fuzzy pal, find him another home.

It may just be the nebulizer solution, but it appears to be available per My stash is upstairs and I don’t feel like digging it out but I do seem to recall it was a generic - filled summer 2014.

I just did a search on my mail-order pharmacy’s site and they listed Xopenex versus levalbuterol as separate items, with the generic about 100 dollars cheaper for a 3 month supply - 200 for generic versus 300 for the brand, or something like that. Of course, albuterol is massively cheaper, like 15 dollars for the same supply. It’s not clear whether those figures are what I’d pay after insurance paid anything, or that’s the full cost (I haven’t hit my deductible yet).

I don’t know that the inhaler version is generic yet. The mail order pharmacy didn’t offer it as an option when I did a search on levalbuterol, and the page suggested only the neb solution as well.

To nitpick a little: If you’ve got someone whose asthma is so intermittent that they truly don’t need to use anything (rescue inhaler or whatever) most of the time, doesn’t it make sense that they might just have it around, and then start back on it during times of flareups?

So, if you go months between times you need the rescue inhaler, why use the steroid regularly?

Of course I got the sense that HoneyBadgerDC meant more like “I’m feeling bad today, I’ll take one puff of the QVar and be done with it” and yeah, that’s useless. On the other hand if he doesn’t need the inhalers at all most of the time, he needs to talk about a plan with the doctor.

I am sure I’ve told this story here before, and I know you’ll cringe… back in 2002 when Dweezil was 7, we took his friend along with us when we went on vacation to California. The friend had been on nebulized Pulmicort - but his mom didn’t want us to have the hassle of lugging along a nebulizer. So she took him to the pediatrician and said “what can we do to avoid that?” and the pediatrician said “Oh, just have him use the albuterol more”.


Bear in mind, in 2002, the really portable nebs either didn’t exist, or were not common, and certainly neither we nor they owned such - but we did own a shoebox-sized one that we’d have happily brought along if we’d known of the need. And the mom knew we owned one; they’d borrowed it once.

So within 24 hours the poor kid was coughing. Within 48 he was coughing a lot and I was on the phone with his mom discussing what to do (including starting him on a steroid inhaler I had for myself to see if that helped). Within 72 hours, we were calling local friends finding where there was a good clinic to take the poor kid to.

He wound up on oral steroids and antibiotics.

All because of a truly boneheaded piece of “advice” on the part of a pediatrician who should’ve been shot for making a call like that. I mean, at the very least the ped should have given him a Beclovent (predecessor of QVar) or Flovent inhaler.

If you are TRULY so intermittant you go months without an inhaler, and you really don’t have signs of inflammation, symptoms, etc. then no, you don’t need to take a steroid every day. But that has to be determined by a real examination, lung function tests, and so on.

Even so - if such a person starts to have problems, or experiences problems after an upper respiratory infection, or whatever, then they may need to take steroids for awhile. However, that’s not “oh, I still have this hanging around, I’ll use it”, that’s something a person needs to go to the doctor for. If you have a sudden flare up it’s a good idea to know WHY and not just treat the symptoms when you can potentially identify and eliminate the cause.

I speak from experience on this - I am one of the fortunate ones that really can go months without medication or symptoms, but there have been times I have been on daily medication. If you’re compliant and take your daily meds then, if you’re lucky, the inflammation goes down and you can take less or even none for awhile - but while asthma might go into “remission” it never really goes away. You’re still an asthmatic even if you’re a really well controlled asthmatic.

And yes, there are a bunch of MD’s out there who don’t know as much as they should about asthma or related issues like allergies.

And clean/change any air filters; depending on the type it can be as easy as taking them out in their frame, washing them with water (the shower or tub is a good place, as they tend to be too big for a sink), letting them dry completely and popping them back in. I’m a superb detector of air filters that haven’t been maintained for way too long.