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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Will asthma eventually go away?

Every day at we get lots of asthma related questions. Below are some questions I thought my readers at the RT Cave would enjoy.

Question: Will underlying asthma go away?

My humble answer: Asthma a tendency to disappear for months or even years, but once you have asthma you have it forever. Some asthmatics never have symptoms, and some have symptoms all the time. But most asthmatics have occasional asthma symptoms. It is an old fallacy that asthma disappears as one grows older. Still, many child asthmatics see their asthma improve as their lungs grow bigger. Once you are diagnosed with asthma, you should continue to see your physician once a year, and continue to take the asthma controller meds he prescribes whether you are having symptoms or not. Some asthmatics will need to take controller meds all the time, and some asthmatics may eventually and successfully be weaned off their asthma meds.

Question: Should I be taking a second medication with Foradil? Likewise, if I'm on this new medicine, should I keep taking Atrovent?

(Note: Foradil is the brand name of the long acting bronchodilator Formeterol. Formeterol is one of the two medicines in Symbicort. Foradil is a similar medicine to Serevent.)

My humble answer: Great question. Asthma is now believed to be associated with chronic (always there) inflammation (swelling) of the air passages in your lungs. Therefore, most asthma experts now believe that asthma that is not controlled by other medicines should be controlled with inhaled corticosteroids. Likewise, most asthma experts also recommends (as well as the asthma guidelines) that if a medicine like Foradil is required to treat asthma, that an inhaled corticosteroid be used with it. Thus, Foradil alone does not treat the chronic inflammation. Therefore, I highly recommend you talk to your doctor about Symbicort. Check out the link and read about it. It has both Formoterol (which is what Foracort is) and Budesonide (an inhaled steroid) in it. Many asthmatics have had great success with this medicine.

Likewise, if you take Formoterol (or Symbicort) you will not need to take Atrovent unless your doctor requires it. Atrovent is no longer a top line medicine for the treatment of most asthma cases.

1 comment:

Dan the Man said...

I can think of only one instance where it will go away, and it did for me.
I had Hoshimoto's Thyroiditis caused by an over active immune system. It left the protection of my lungs up to inept VA doctors.
Resolving my thyroid problem by Radiation Therapy reversed my lung problems once my immune system was re-established and actually stopped my asthma problems thus far... it has been 12 years free of asthma.