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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

AeroChamber Flow works great

So I have a four year old who has asthma as bad as mine, at least during the cold, rainy and snowy days from October through May.  He main symptom is coughing at night.  If she gets really bad she  coughs, has retractions, and has mood changes  Yes, she gets grumpy; my little smiley gets grumpy.

Usually when she has these symptoms I'm up several times during the night to give her Albuterol breathing treatments.  I tend to dote on her, because I remember my mom yelling at me when I coughed at night when I was a kid.  My mom probably considered me to be an annoyance.  I don't hold any grudges against my mom, however, because how was she to know back in 1974 that nighttime coughing is one of the main signs of childhood asthma.

So we generally resort to twice a day Albuterol treatments, and during acute attacks more frequently.  Her worse attacks require Q2-3 breathing treatments, and this is where in the past we were forced to either take her to her doctor for steroids, or to the emergency room.  We only resort to the emergency room because, by coincidence, these episodes usually transpire when it's a weekend and our daughter's doctor is not on call.

A short dose of systemic steroids, followed by Pulmicort solution twice a day is what controls her asthma.  It's neat watching my kids take breathing treatments, because they use a mouthpiece and sit through the thing better than many of my adult patients.  Perhaps it's from watching their dad take treatments.  Yet I like to think it's because they need the treatment.

Like myself, my daughter doesn't like to sit through a ten minute breathing treatment when she's feeling well.  And considering her Pulmicort treatment costs $2 a day, it can get pretty expensive.  So this year we requested our daughter be switched to Qvar instead of Pulmicort.  All the studies that I've ever read say that kids do better with inhalers anyway.

So I mention this to my child's doctor, and she says she never heard of such a thing.  However, because my family has a rare case of hardluck asthma, she decided to go against tradition and grant my request.  So my next debate is: what kind of spacer to we get.  If we buy one with a mask at the pharmacy it costs $10.  Yet I have a regular AeroChamber spacer at home that I use.

So this brought about another debate:  do we need to invest in an AeroChamber with a mask, or use the regular AeroChamber.  At first we experimented with the regular AeroChamber.  It worked fine.  I was actually surprised my daughter did so well.  Although there was really no way of knowing if my daughter was getting the medicine, even though she indicated she did.

Finally we decide to just buy the AeroChamber flow.  It works like a charm.  My daughter did so well with it we wonder why we even waited.  It's nice because you place the mask over her face, you squirt, and then she takes four or five breaths.  You know when she's getting the medicine because you can see the valve move.

There are smaller masks too, so it would probably work great for neonates as well.  I can see now why studies would show that inhalers with mask and spacers work better for kids of all ages than nebulizers.  Most of the nebulizier medicine is wasted, and most of the inhaler medicine is not wasted.

Still, where I work, doctors don't want to believe this.  They think nebulizers are the best method of aerosolized inhalation for everyone.  My daughter even looks forward to her treatments now, knowing she doesn't have to sit for ten minutes.

So consider this my endorsement of the AeroChamber flow by Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc.  No, I did not get paid for this endorsement, and I have never had any contact with the company.


LC said...

Do people generally have to purchase the Aerochamber? How much would it cost? I guess I was lucky as my pharmacy gave me one for free.

Rick Frea said...

Pharmacy charges $10 for spacers, which is why I debated getting one. But it was well worth the $10. It's basically a one time $10 fee, or $2 a day for Pulmicort. My daughter loves the new spacer, and even asks for it.

Military Spouse Fellowship said...

My youngest son uses the AetoChamber and it works great. I did have to ask his doctor to prescribe one for him. I do like this better than the nebulizer because I do feel like he gets more medication. I would wonder how much medication received with all of the fidgeting and taking his mask off or not using the mouth piece correctly.