Friday, July 22, 2005

Asthma News: Advair Stays on Market, Florida Covers Pulmicort

Two key news stories y'all should be up on:

FDA panel recommends asthma drugs remain on market

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee unanimously recommended
Wednesday that three asthma medications, one of which is GlaxoSmithKline's
top-selling drug, remain on the market. But the committee urged more research to
determine whether the medications might actually worsen asthma in certain
The FDA had asked the panel to review the safety of Glaxo's
Serevent and blockbuster Advair — a combination product containing Serevent and
a corticosteroid — and Novartis' Foradil, which belongs to the same class of
drugs as Serevent.

Medicaid to pay for asthma drug mistakenly left off list
The children's drug was not included until doctors and parents complained.

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida's Medicaid program will begin paying for an asthma medicine needed by thousands of children, responding to a mistake that had left the drug off a new list of covered medications.Under a new law that took effect this month, the Medicaid program redrew its list of drugs it will pay for, in most cases only putting on the list drugs made by companies that will give the state a bulk discount.

Doctors can get approval to prescribe off the list -- but some have said it can be a cumbersome task and could be dangerous because doctors may first try drugs on the list that may not work on that particular patient.

When the new list was drawn up, an asthma treatment for children called Pulmicort Respules was left off, meaning doctors who wanted to prescribe it would have to get prior approval.

Can you imagine if Pulmicort wasn't covered? I swear, we would have been on welfare if we'd had to pay for that every month!

Monday, July 18, 2005

To My Anonymous Commenter - Please Be Careful!

Thanks so much for your comment last week -- but I have to post a reply.

I'm so happy that reflexology is working so well for your son, but please, please, please - continue to see a pediatric pulmonlogist.

Asthma is a tricky, tricky illness, and not one to be taken lightly.

As the daughter of a pharmacist, I'm particularly cautious about overmedicating my kids. I question every prescription (to the great dismay of my doctors), and they're well aware of the fact that I often will not fill the scripts they give me for antibiotics. Not right away anyway.

But I've learned not to mess around with asthma. Despite the possible negative effects of inhaled corticosteroids and albuterol, I know that these are the drugs that help my little boy breathe.

This child is the absolute love of my life, and I've seen him suffer too much. I've seen him hooked up to a nasal canula with oxygen being pumped into his lungs, and it's something I never, ever want to have to see again.

I'm aware that Flovent and/or Pulimicort could stunt his growth. I know Albuterol makes him cranky and flighty, that Orapred makes him unbearable, as do Combivent and DuoNeb. (But really, I'd rather he be short than struggling to breathe, if it has to be a choice.)

But I also know that Flovent and Pulmicort have kept him out of the ER many, many times. That Albuterol has helped us prevent what could have been a very serious attack. That Orapred has sidetracked hospitalization from pneumonia. And that Combivent and DuoNeb may have actually saved his life.

That said, you can see why I don't mess around. I've had the good fortune to find a pediatric pulmonologist I trust as well as I trust my best friend. She understands my reluctance to increase (and at times, decrease) the drugs on his action plan. She supports my efforts to try non-medical, non-traditional alternatives to medications -- while continuing his prescribed maintenance medications. I respect that she wants my baby to have normal childhood. We have a great relationship.

I hope you find the same. Find a doctor who's open to your desire to ultimately get your son off medication.

But please, please, stay in touch with your doctor and keep your son on his maintenance meds until your doctor advises you that it's okay to change routines.

I don't work for the drug companies -- I'm just speaking from my heart and my experience.

Best of luck to you both.

Update: The Cough Continues

Not as bad, though. We've still got the congestion (over a week now) but he's only really coughing at night and in the morning. So we're back to where we were in the spring, really.

I'll keep an eye on the congestion, though...Thank goodness I started this blog. Now I know it's only been a little over a week. (Naturally, I never write this stuff down like I'm supposed to.)

But things seem to be pretty well under control, so I won't bother calling the doctors yet. We'll see. If he's still this stuffed up a week from now - or Friday, even - I'll assume it's a sinus infection.

Still, this summer's been good so far. Historically, he gets sick on his birthday (we had to cancel his party two years ago because he had almost 105, Strep, and an asthma attack). We've got two weeks, so I'll stay vigilant!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2005

When it comes to asthma, Mother knows best

Man, can I call it or what?

Friday night, he started coughing again, so I gave him Albuterol before bed.

Same deal Saturday night.

Sunday morning, there was more coughing, accompanied by some LOVELY green mucus. So, more Albuterol, in the morning, at lunchtime, and at bedtime.

He also decided not to eat yesterday. Just wasn't hungry.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the kid's coming down with something. And not to say "I told you so," but I did predict this last week.

While it sucks that my son is sick again (although we have had a great summer so far), I do have to admit, it's nice to always be right about one thing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Symptoms Again - Waiting it Out

It's ever-so-subtle, but the Asthma Mom learns to be sensitive to the onset of an attack even at its earliest stages. We're like lionesses in the savannah, listening to prey rustling in the grass half a mile away. I swear, we're just that attuned.

Little B started coughing again just before the holiday. Not a lot, just 2 or three times a day, very early in the morning or around bedtime. It's a little bit "junky" sounding, but not too bad. But it's there. It's a cough.

And over the weekend, he was uncharasterically whiney and clingy. He's usually not an annoying kid, which really, is saying a lot for a preschooler! But really, he's generally an easy going, sweet boy. While he certainly *can* be a little annoying atg times, he usually doesn't get on my nerves the way he did over the past few days.

Now granted. That could be me. I'm wrapping up the first trimester of this surprise pregnancy, and let's just say it's not making the most graceful exit.

So yes, it could have been my dramatically reduced patience, but I think a lot of it was him. Add to that the fact that I found him in bed, under the covers at 11:00 in the morning on Saturday (this from The Boy Who Would Not Nap), and I'd wager that he's not feeling well.

We'll wait and see. We lionnesses have a fair amount of patience (especially in the second trimester).