Son's Asthma Medications

Updated on January 23, 2009
S.P. asks from Nineveh, IN
11 answers

My son was treated for exercise induced asthma back in Spring '08 - and given an albuterol inhaler to take as needed. He continued to have more trouble as the summer progesses and we then visited a pulmonologist, where he was diagnosed with mild asthma. He was put on a preventative (flovent) morning and night plus the albuterol before exercise. Late summer/early fall he developed a chronic cough, and after visits with the pediatrician and the pulmonologists and chest xrays - his medication was increased to advair 250/50 and is now on the advair am & pm, nasonex at bedtime, singulair at bedtime, and albuterol before exercise and as needed. This seems like a lot to me for a kid who has mild asthma. His breathing scores continue to get better everytime we go back and she has now said they are near normal but because he still complains of a hard time breathing with exercise or heavy play wants to keep in on everything for at least another three months and then will consider dropping dosages. I am really worried about all of this medication - I want the best for my kids but really don't like putting unnecessary drugs into their bodies and am extremely worried about side effects. I have recently read about mental side effects with the singulair, plus other physical effects. I have noticed a change in my son's skin color, dry skin, eating habits, weight loss. My son is a great kid - straight a's, thoughtful, not perfect, but a really good kid I am very proud of. I don't want to chance messing with the great person he is and I hope he becomes. Does anyone have any experience with this type of medication usage? I would love your thoughts. I have only posted one other time and was really floored by all of the concerned and caring feedback - thank you.

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E.W.

answers from Cleveland on

Have you had him tested for allergies? It may be that there is more to his asthma than the exercise. If there is an allergy then you can treat the allergy and then he may not need meds for asthma. YOu also may want to talk to a osteopath. They are MD's but treat conditions through strengthening the immune system and noninvasive allergy treatments. If you live in the Cleveland area; Osteomed II or Integrative Wellness.

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T.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

If you want a natural way to take care of his asthma, try OPC-3. It is a antioxidant and can be used while he is on the meds, then you will see his need to the meds will decrease and the Doctors will be able to take him off of them. Actually he can take OPC-3 instead of the meds right away, but that can be a bit scary, when you don't know the science behind the supplement. So you can go this easier route. My website is www.marketamerica.com/W.. Feel free to order and I always offer a money back if you are not satisfied. (I have been recommending this product for over 9 years, and have never needed to refund anyone's money, I am so very confident in OPC-3) My e-mail is [email protected]____.com if you have any questions or want to talk further. Because you are right, that is a ton of meds for a child or anyone for that matter to be taking.

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J.J.

answers from Toledo on

I don't have any experience with a child that old developing asthma, but I do have LOTS of experience with asthma. My daughter is now 5, but was diagnosed with asthma at 3 months. Until she was almost 4, she was on the following med schedule:

Inhaled steroid (pulmocort first then Qvar as she got a bit older) morning and night.

Singulair 5 mg nightly

Zantac morning and night

Aerosol treatments (first accuneb, then albuterol, then through 3 different doses of Xopenex) every 3-4 hours on bad days

Plus a Xopenex inhaler to use as needed when she gets an "out of the blue" flare up.

If he is seeing a pulmonologist, and he is getting better since he has been medicated, leave him on the meds as directed by the pulmonologist. The reason he is doing better is because of the meds that he is on. The Advair and the Singulair are controller meds. These are medicines that work in the same way as some medicines do for those who have high blood pressure or diabetes. They help to keep the body balanced and functioning the way it should be.

The Albuterol inhaler is meant to give his airways a boost when he exercises or plays real hard. Taking it before hand allows it to fully penetrate the airways while they are relaxed as it is very hard to penetrate them when they are already inflamed.

Because he is on Flonase, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he may have a bit of allergy induced asthma. My daughter was on Zantac because she had a very small problem with acid reflux which really aggrivated her asthma. The point is that there are often times when outside illness/disease will contribute to asthma.

Sorry to be so long, but I do feel almost like an "expert" when it comes to asthma because I have dealt with so many ups and downs in such a short period of time.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.F.

answers from Columbus on

It does sound like a lot of medicine, and i agree with the previous poster that you should have him tested for allergies in addition to the asthma, allergies are the reason why i have asthma attacks and i never was under control until we figured that out a few years ago. I would also make sure to ask your doctor especially if the advair is really necessary. they pulled it off the market temporarily a few years ago because they found that in some people it actually makes asthma worse not better. My doctor pulled me off of it when the first alerts came out about it and i have been able to keep my moderately severe asthma under control without it. It has only recently been allowed to have more universal prescriptions written for it. Please do not just stop giving him his medicine without discussing it with a doctor but i would certainly encourage you to ask the doctor about why all of the medications are really necessary.

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R.M.

answers from Evansville on

My son is 9 yrs old and is a severe asthmatic. He has been on nasonex, singulair, zyrtec, advair and albuterol since he was 3 yrs old. He has done very well on the medications and would end up in the hospital without them. I would rather him have some of the side effects than pnuemonia. Theses medications have been his lifeline. He sees an pediatric allergists, asthma specialist, immunologist all in one. I am very thankful for these medications. Your doctor is just doing what they feel is best for your child to keep him well. I would trust their judgement.

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S.W.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi S.-

I have asthma too- I had it for years as a child until it was finally diagnosed and treated when I was 14. It's hereditary and I saw my grandmother die from complications with asthma exacerbated pneumonia. It scared me! But, I was also scared by her daily regimen of medicine and breathing treatments. When I was in college, I decided to go cold turkey except for emergencies and tough it out. I did this be working through small attacks when I would do cardio and building up my lungs. It definietly helped. My asthma has gotten worse in the past two years (moderate is my classification) and I am now on singulair. I've had problems with advair and some inhalers causing tachychardia and have been concerned about my use of the medicine. I found a great doctor in Fairview Park who worked with me over the course of several months to find the right maintenance and rescue drugs for me so that I am not uncomfortable and my asthma is well treated. It took a while and wasn't always fun; but, it was very important to try different meds and assess how I felt. I would work very closely with your doctor and your son. Ask your son how he feels minutes after taking a med, an hour after, while exercising and 24 hours after. Your son may be having some side effects from one of the meds that makes him feel worse and that just isn't right. I also have experience dry mouth, dry skin, and weight loss, appetite supression with singulair. But, in the end, being able to breathe trumps all that! But, advair made my asthma symptoms worse so that wasn't for me! I agree....your son seems to be taking too much medicine for mild asthma. The Cleveland Asthma and Allergy Clinic in Fairview Park is very good and they do treat children very well. I would highly recommend seeing Dr. Strauss there. He does an excellent job explaining the illness and the meds and his goal is to get you (your son) functioning optimally with as little medical intervention as possible; but, knowing how and when you need it. He's very good. Good luck!

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N.N.

answers from Columbus on

My husband has had asthma since he was a small child. He took allergy shots and had rescue in halers. While in college he decided that he didn't like the way they made him feel and quit. He then started to manage his asthma in different ways and was doing really well. After college he went for a work physical and the dr. was suprised to learn that he had ashtma and took nothing for it. It went on for years that way until one winter he got bronchitis. He had it forever and it wouldn't go away. The dr. put him on steriods and that didn't work, then they put him on advair. He went to see a specialist who put him on singulair and advair and zyrtec. He was doing better on all the drugs, but was so grumpy. We went away for a weekend to my parents house and forgot the advair. He wound up in the hospital. It was the first time he'd ever been hospitalized in his life for asthma. We talked about it and he said he thought all the medication was causing it so he quit taking them all again. It was rough in the beginning, but when summer came around he got better and he's been fine since. A chiropractor recommended a homeopathic treatment for him and he did that for a few years with much better success than the medications the specialists had him on. He's much happier now also. Occaissionally in the winter he gets wheezy and he'll go get more of the homeopathic medicine, but he's not been in the hospital again and he's not medicated anymore. Dr's love to perscribe drugs, it's what they do best, but its not always best for us. Sometimes all those drugs mess you up worse than you were before. I worry with children that all those drugs make children believe that they are sick. They make them feel that they would die without them, when in fact that is just not the case. For that very reason my oldest who was put on Zyrtec at 5 months for allergies and asthma problems doesn't take it like she's supposed to. She was just over a year when she had her first full blown asthma attack. We took her to the ER where they gave her breathing treatments and sent us home with a nebulizer and albuteral. We gave her a few treatments and refilled the scrip. When she was better we quit giving it to her. She hasn't had a problem since. We went with our gut. We told her that she's a big, strong girl and she is. I'm not saying that its right for you and your son, but it was right for us.

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M.

answers from Cincinnati on

Don't know if these ideas will help, but two things to consider:

1) Undiagnosed food allergies can exacerbate or even be the root cause of asthma -- so if you haven't investigated this yet from a dietary aspect, it's worth doing so, AND can be done methodically and for *free* by doing a trial elimination (starting with the most common allergens in our culture - cow's milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish)... a good place to look is whatever foods your son just "can't live without" and those foods which he really just hates (often, allergic folks have an extreme "feeling" about a food they're allergic to, meaning either a complete aversion OR an almost addiction, such as "I adore milk, cheese, ice cream, and can't imagine living without it"). For more information on undiagnosed food allergies, check out the book by Dr. Doris Rapp MD called "Is This Your Child?" - it's available at the local library.

2) My husband had exercise induced asthma and a ton of environmental allergies for many years - yet he swam competitively at the college level. One of the best "treatments" that seemed to work consistently for him was to take Actifed (or whatever are the active ingredients in this medicine) about 1 hr prior to onset of physical activity. His orthopedic surgeon recommended this, not his allergist, and he really noticed it being helpful and was quite surprised that it worked for him. Don't know if this would help your son (or if he's even old enough to take this!), but since it's a very common over-the-counter drug with minimal side effects, it might be worth a trial run.

Best of luck - and I think it's fantastic that you are such an observant mom who is really trying to advocate for her son to get the most personalized healthcare possible. In this day and age, it's very easy to get average medical recommendations that might work ok but not OPTIMALLY for your (your son's) individual situation. Keep at it! :)

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

Where do you live? I know a natural medicine doctor that you should see that SPECIALIZES in asthma and allergies. SHE TRIES TO GET KIDS & PEOPLE OFF MEDS!!! She works with ALOT of kids!

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L.

answers from Cleveland on

my sisters son sufferred with these same issues. She finally took him to a holistic group of doctors that used acupressure to help with his allergies. It was expensive and of course, insurance wanted nothing to do with them, but he is so much better.

She went the round of doctors and the asthma medicines, nothing worked.

It is so hard to know what to do but when you feel like the docs are not really helping...

Sometimes you just have to go with your mothering instincts. If you feel it's too much medication for your son, you are probably right.

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R.G.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My daughter is 2 1/2 and has asthma as well. She is on singulair, albuterol breathing treatments, pulmicort breathing treatments, and has been on the Qvar inhaler with a spacer(which her asthma dr. determined that she was too young for. She couldn't pull the medication out of the spacer). We also do a daily allergy medication as well. She's currently on claritin but we have used zyrtec, which works well too. I have found that running a humdifier in her room really helps her out. Keeps the air from bring too dry. I also use vicks vapor rub on her at night. Not sure if that will help your son or not since my daughter has a different type of asthma.
I guess I would keep doing what the dr recommended since his numbers keep improving but I would express your concerns to his doctor. Hopefully they'll be able to lower the number of medications he is on

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