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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Asthma rule #1: Take your Singulair as ordered

I know (I know-I know) asthma experts like me preach you should never tinker with your medicine. And I know (I know-I know) we preach you should always take your medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

But I did it anyway. I decided that Singulair is way too expensive at $30 per month, or $1 a pill. And that is with insurance. For those who don't have insurance you get 30 pills for $79, which comes to about $2.63 per pill.

Either way, that's a lot of money. And since there are no generic Singulair type medicines available, my insurance requires me to pay a certain percentage of the actual cost. Otherwise, for prescriptions that are reasonably priced I pay a $10 co-pay.

So, in order to try to spread out my prescription over two months, I decided that since I was feeling so well I'd take a pill every other day instead of every day. For the first month this seemed to be working quite well and I thought I was on to something.

But then over this past weekend it hit me. Thankfully I didn't have trouble with my asthma (thanks to Advair), but I did have a major case of the eye itches, sneezes, and runny nose.

Of course this could have been a coincidence, as it is true that many experts note that Singulair is not an antihystamine to stop the symptoms I describe, but a leukotriene blocker intended to block allergies from causing bronchospasm.

Yet I'm quick to attribute this to my Singulair trial, especially considering last spring I showed no symptoms of allergies for the first time in my entire life.

Some people who don't have as severe of allergies as me (I'm allergic to pretty much everything outdoors) may be able to get by taking a pill every other day, but that strategy won't work for me -- at least during the spring season.

I know (I know-I know) I shouldn't tinker with my medicine, but on occasion I find this is a good thing to do, for no other reason than to prove to yourself that the medicines you are on are working great, as opposed to just assuming (as some doctors do).

It's kind of a checks and balance system I like to use. So now I'm back to taking it every day, despite the high price.

I imagine some of you guideline followers might email me a "Smack!" or a "Kick" in the rump for doing something so stupid. Go ahead and do so, because I deserve it.


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