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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Primitine mist not a good option for asthma

I promised some of my readers a while ago I would discuss Primitine Mist and why it should never be used to treat asthma. I believe the following Question from the Q&A section of followed by my humble answer should put this topic to rest.

My boyfriend has asthma and resists using the Advair as much as possible because he's concerned about long-term steroid use and because it's so expensive. Instead he regularly uses Primatine mist - I've heard this is even worse. Any feedback on this? He is almost 58 and his asthma is moderate. He is 5'9 and around 165-170 lbs. - very active (cyclist and skier).

I will provide you with some info you can share with your boyfriend:
1. Primitine Mist has a medicine called epinepherine in it, which is basically adrenaline. Adrenaline is a natural chemical in your body that increases when you are under a highly stressful situation or exercising. It dilates your lung passages to make it easier to breath, and constricts your vasculature to increases your blood pressure, elevates your heart rate, and force oxygen to vital organs. It can also make you extremely jittery or hyperactive.

When you use Primitine mist to treat asthma, you are actually adding more adrenaline to your system. If your adrenaline is already high from stress or anxiety of the attack, or you are abusing the primitine mist, this can lead to cardiac arrhythmias that can lead to death.

2. Primatine mist is not a medicine that is recommended by physicians, yet was grandfathered in as an over the counter medicine and is still available. However, as you can read here, the medicine may be phased out by 2010. So he'll have no choice but to find another option. It's already not on the shelves where I live.

3. By using primitine mist your boyfriend is only treating the acute asthma symptoms. Advair treats the underlying chronic inflammation that can actually prevent asthma from ever happening, and may even eliminate the need for a med like P. mist. I wrote about the importance of using Advair as prescribed in this post.

4. Unlike systemic corticosteroids like Prednisone, the corticosteroid in Advair is inhaled directly into the lungs and, therefore, systemic side effects are minimized (click here for list of possible side effects of Advair). Most asthma experts now believe that the advantages of Advair for most asthmatics far outweigh the mild side effects.

5. It is true Advair is expensive. He may chose to discuss this with his doctor because there are other less expensive options available. Or, if you are really strapped for money, you can call the pharmaceutical company for financial assistance (click here for more information).

6. Of course if you are on Advair you will still need something to use as a rescue inhaler for those acute asthma symptoms that may occur from time to time. The medicine doctors recommend most is Albuterol. This is the same type of medicine as Adrenaline in that it dilates the air passages in the lungs, yet it is fine tuned so systemic side effects are minimized. Therefore, Albuterol has very minimal side effects.

7. Actually, most doctors agree that you cannot overdose on Albuterol. However, if you are to the point you are using it more often than recommended by your physician your asthma is probably not controlled and you should either call your doctor or come to visit an doctor in an emergency room.

8. Albuterol comes at a reasonable cost even if you are without insurance. If you remain strapped for cash most pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs so you don't have to go without the medicines you need.

On a side note here, I never bought a Primitine Mist inhaler for my asthma, as I've always been fortunate enough to have access to good health care. Yet I had a freind purchase one once for himself and he never used it, so he gave it to me.

This was back when I was a hardluck asthmatic bronchodilatoraholic, and I used that sucker up in a few days. Yeah I walked around like a lit up lightbulb for a few days, but it didn't really do much for my asthma. To me, it seemed Albuterol is twice as strong as Primitine Mist anyway.

So, not only is Albuterol 110% safeer than Primitine Mist, it is much more effective in my humble opinion. Yet, ironically, Primitine Mist is available over the counter and Albuterol is not. Someday soon, however, Primitine Mist will be a distant memory.

There, I think that should pretty much answer all your questions about Primitine Mist.


EclecticBird said...

I have allergy induced asthma and have thought about buying Primitine before to keep from having to go back to my doc for a refill inhaler prescription. Reading this has definitely made me realize I’d rather spend some time with my doc. Great information and resources, thank you!

Sarah said...

Amen! When I met my husband I went through his car and all his drawers and threw out all his Primitine Mist.

Gerald E said...

All of your comments about Primatene Mist being a bad drug are fine for some but for me (and a couple of others I know), Albuterol is very dangerous. It put me in the hospital for 3 days. They kept giving me O2 and Albuterol, not believing what I was saying, that I could not breath after treatment. I tried many drugs over 5 months until I found that the only medication that I could tolerate was epinepherine (Primatene Mist). By then, I had become so weak that I could barely walk a block. After finding Primatene Mist, taking sufficent Vitamin D3 (5,000 i.u./day) and enrolling in a physical therapy program I am back to normal and feeling good. Don't come near me with that Albuterol.