So Advair worked wonders in helping me finally obtain good control of my asthma (as I wrote about here). Now it was time to get those dreaded allergies under control.
All my life there just seemed to be nothing available to control allergies. When I was really little my doctor wouldn't let me take anything for allergies, because on the box it said, "Do not take if you have asthma."
As I look back I think how stupid that was. There were many miserable nights for me because of that stupid wisdom. Later I was allowed to use antihistamines, although they did little good.
Pretty much the only thing that worked for allergies was avoidance. Yet it was hard to stay away from my brother's house, my friend's home, and the cabin where the guys hung out. It was no fun to avoid those places, yet that was often the only option, unless I wanted to take risks (which I often did).
And the boxes I set in the basement of my new home three years earlier were still sitting down there, because every time I tackled that job the allergies would strike, and quite often that also lead to an asthma attack (although now less severe due to Advair).
So along came Claritin. And then along came Singulair. Yet, because I didn't complain enough about my allergies to my doctor, these meds were around several years before I tried them.
One day, late 1997, this topic just happened to come up while I was having a friendly discussion with a doctor friend of mine at work. He said, "I think you definitely should be on Singulair. In fact, I think every asthmatic should be on Singulair."
I went home and researched the medicine. Of course I already knew that 70% of asthmatics have both allergies and asthma, and that quite often these allergies trigger asthma. So, if scientists could come up with a medicine to stop the allergy response, then they could control asthma.
Scientists also know that during an allergic reaction a chemical called leukotriene is released. This chemical causes bronchospasm. Finally, in 1998, after spending millions of dollars and 63 years researching leukotrienes and working on a way to block their release, Singulair was approved by the FDA.
Singulair has an active ingredient in it called Montelukast sodium, which blocks the action of leukotriene, thus preventing allergies, and preventing bronchospasm caused by allergies, and, in turn, preventing asthma.
So, new asthma wisdom in hand, I had a nice discussion with my asthma doctor during my next visit. He was skeptical at first. He asked me if I tried over the counter antihistamines like Drixoral or Clariton. I said I tried them all to no avail. "Nothing EVER worked," I said, "And I can't go through one more spring feeling miserable. I just can't!
He said he was "cautious" about starting me on newly released medicine. He didn't want his patients to be a guinea pig. But, being open minded, he said, "I'll let you try it for a month."
"Doc, " I said, "I think you should let me try it at least through spring. If I can make it through spring without having miserable allergies, I'll know this medicine is working."
Finally March arrived -- no allergies. April arrived -- no allergies. May arrived -- no allergies. June, July, August... No allergies at all that summer. In fact, I haven't had allergy symptoms at all since I started taking this asthma/allergy miracle medicine in January of 2008.
Obviously all medicines come with a risk of developing some side effects, but I developed none. Thank God, because allergies held me back for the first 38 years of my life. Not anymore! Now, with the combination of Advair and Singulair, I actually feel like a normal person for the first time in my life.
I have talked with doctors that say every asthmatic should be on Advair, and every allergic/asthmatic should be on Singulair.
By the way, another advantage I've come to enjoy regarding Singulair is it works well to prevent exercise induced bronchospasm. Now, thanks to Advair and Singulair, I'm actually able to run.
So, if you're an asthmatic and allergies continue to hold you back despite your best efforts, I highly recommend you talk to your doctor about Singulair.
Now, keep in mind that what works for me won't necessarily work for every asthmatic. Singulair is simply another option for us asthmatics to try. Thankfully, for me, it worked like a charm.