Saturday, April 17, 2010

My experience with Serevent

I've decided in this post to share my experience with the long acting beta adrenergic Serevent. Perhaps there's some asthmatic somewhere who might benefit from my story here.

I guess you can say that even though I've always been a gallant asthmatic for the most part, I was also a hard luck asthmatic up until about 2005. That is: no matter what medicines I was on my asthma was still not controlled (although it didn't stop me from doing much).

As a quick review here, Serevent is a long acting bronchodilator that should be taken twice daily for chronic asthma. It is a time released medicine that does an excellent job of preventing bronchospasm from occurring and thus it works to PREVENT asthma.

Actually, based on studies, the FDA now recommends if you need Serevent to control your asthma you should also be using an inhaled corticosteroid (like Flovent) to control chronic inflammation. This didn't really apply to me, though, as I was already on flovent.

Actually, if you need serevent, you might as well take Advair, which is a combination inhaler with both Serevent and Flovent in it. Another similar medicine is Symbicort.

In 1998 I was still on the same asthma preventative meds I took way back in 1985. I was taking Azmacort four puffs four times a day, I was on Theophylline 600 mg twice a day, and I had a Ventolin inhaler which was prescribed for me to used whenever I needed it.

I actually used my Ventolin quite frequently, and one would last anywhere from a week to a month. My asthma never stopped me from living a normal life, although avoiding my asthma triggers was sometimes a challenge.

So, basically here it was 1998 and I was still on pretty much the same meds antiquated asthma meds I was on in 1985, which you can see here. After I graduated from respiratory school, I moved to my current home, and in the process of moving, dust mites and molds hit me hard and I ended up the the hospital for 10 days.

Once I was feeling better I discussed with my doctor about trying some more updated asthma meds. He advised that I try Severent and Flovent. The Flovent worked great, especially since I only had to take it twice a day as opposed to the 4 puffs 4 times a day I was taking with Azmacort.

The Serevent, on the other hand, made me so jittery I could hardly function at work (it was hard to draw blood, one of my favorite duties). So after a couple weeks I quit taking it.

Actually, I moved into my current home in 2004, and in 2007 many of the boxes still sat unopened in my basement. Every time I went down there I'd have an allergy/asthma attack.

In the meantime I talked to asthmatic friend who said since she started taking Advair she no longer feels like she even had asthma. So I talked with my doctor again about trying Advair. However, AGAIN, I got very jittery and had to quit taking it.

I think the reason I was having such a hard time with the Serevent was because I was using so much Ventolin. So I decided to try something on my own. I decided that I would SLOWLY decrease my use of Ventolin at the same time I weaned myself onto the Sevevent (Advair).

What I did was I took one puff of Advair every other day for a month. Then I took one puff a day for a month. Then I started taking it once in the morning and once at night, the recommended frequency.

It worked. By weaning myself onto the Advair the Serevent was SLOWLY introduced into my body. And, as the LABA started taking effect, I needed less and less Ventolin.

Finally I felt like a normal person. In fact, my asthma was better than it ever was in my life. Still, though, I wasn't able to clean my basement due to chronic allergies, and this is where Singulair comes into play (I'll get into that in my next post).

Advair brought upon a major change in my life. Honesty, for the first time in my life I felt I had control of my asthma. Advair is simply a "miracle" medicine. And, if I hadn't worked with my doctor on weaning myself onto it, my asthma would still be "controlled" by 1980s standards -- and that's no longer acceptable.

My point by sharing this experience is twofold. One, if you are doing everything you can to control your asthma and it's still not controlled, research other asthma meds, especially the newer ones, and discuss with your doctor your options.

Two, sometimes you may need to get creative with new meds, and you need to give it a chance to work. If you tried it once and had a bad experience like I did, try it again later. If all else fails, slowly wean yourself off the old medicine, and onto the new. Be patient, and hope for the best.

If I wasn't patient like this, I'd still be those old medicines and my asthma wouldn't be as controlled as it is now. Another neat thing about Advair and Singulair is they allowed me to wean myself off Theophylline, of which I was chronically dependent on for 30 years (also an upcoming post).

Despite my header, I no longer consider myself a hard luck asthmatic. Likewise, thanks to Advair, I no longer consider myself a bronchodilatoraholic either because I hardly ever use my Ventolin Rescue inhaler anymore. And that, to me, is major progress

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