Thursday, January 21, 2016

Breo is great... or is it???

What if.. what if... what if the side effects of the medicines used to control your breathing aren't worth it. What if... What if... what if something that has been ailing you for years isn't caused by aging, or by some other chronic condition, but is just a side effect of some medicine you've been taking for years.

Worded another way: Surely all those medicines you're on are helping you breathe easier, but are they worth it.  Are the side effects simply causing another problem that is making your life more difficult.

This is a tough thing to think about, but it's worth thinking about.  I mean, as a respiratory therapist, I brush off claims by doctors that ventolin has side effects.  I brush off concerns that albuterol caused that lady in room 212 to jump into atrial fibrilation.  I tell doctors all the time that it's just a coincidence, that ventolin won't do it.

But what if I'm wrong? What if everything we know about asthma medicines is wrong? What if all the other problems that ail us are (ahem!!!) caused by the very medicines that are helping us.

Let me just give you an example, For the past year I have been shaking almost uncontrollably every time I attend a code in the ER. I usually am able to prevent others from noticing by stabilizing my hand on some surface. I'm able to draw ABGs in such situations simply by taking my time and drawing the blood until my hand calms down.

Recently a doctor questioned me.  He even went as far to tease me by saying, "So, do you have a drinking problem?" Now, he was joking.  But it still is bothersome to some degree?

So, theories abound my mind.  Is it that I drink too much coffee?  Well, I've been drinking coffee since 2010, and it never did this to me before.  Is it aging? I know my mom and grandma suffer from anxiety, and it seemed to get worse as they aged.  So is that happening to me? Is this just genetics?

Now that I think about it, I also suffered from a few bouts of some sort of abnormal rhythm. I never told my wife about it because I didn't want to concern her.  Or, better yet, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But, if it was the Breo...????

Yes, it is true that my mom, dad, and a couple of my brothers suffer from shaky hands. So, the idea that this is genetics has crossed my mind.  So this is what I was thinking two days ago as I laid on my bed to take a nap.  And then, voila, an idea crossed my mind that had never occurred to me before: Maybe, just maybe, it's the BREO.

I have bragged about this medicine up and down.  I was on Advair before Breo, and Advair worked great with negligible side effects. So when I switched to Breo, it never even occurred to me that there would be side effects. So there was a bias to Breo.

I tried Symbicort and Dulera before that, and there was no bias.  Within days of both medicines I noticed that I was increasingly jittery.  In fact, I remember a coworker made fun of me one day when I was trialing Symbicort, and I quit taking it the next day and went back on Breo.

So, that said, why did it take me over a year to realize Breo was doing the same thing.  Bias, I say. I held a b bias to Breo. I was no better than a biased journalist. Bias accomplishes nothing other than a repeat of stupidity and failure.

My theory now is that my body is overflowing with adrenaline due to the Breo, the ventolin, the coffee, and the natural increase in adrenaline at a code.

So now I'm trialing no Breo. It's on day 3 now and I can tell a remarkable difference. Surely I can't breathe as well, but, man, I just couldn't go on feeling so jittery.  It was stressing me out. I'll give it a few more days, and if I continue to feel more normal sans Breo, a call to the doctor to change to Flovent will be imminent.

Will keep you posted on how this experiment goes.  Yes, I do know I'm going against all expert advice, including my own, to never change your medicine on your own without doctor approval.  But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

No comments:

Post a Comment