Tag Archives: patient-physician relationship

Your Relationship With Your Physician and the Beating Asthma Twitter Party

Facilitating patient/physician conversation is one of our biggest passions at Beating Asthma.We’re preparing to host another #BeatingAsthma Twitter party on Friday evening at 9pm ET and we’d love to see you there!

This time around, we are continuing our conversation about the importance of an open, honest patient/physician relationship. Here at Beating Asthma, we’re passionate about facilitating healthy communication and a level playing field between doctors and their patients.

We hope to chat with you then!

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Asthma treatment: LABA’s should not be used alone!

Study: Asthma drugs raise risk of complications in children

When used alone, the asthma medications known as long-acting beta-agonists are associated with an increased risk of serious complications, new research indicates.

*This headline appeared in USA Today Online over the past several days. Similar headlines have recently appeared elsewhere in the media.

Should you be frightened?

I don’t think so, and here’s why.

First of all, this is not really “new research”, not in the purest sense. It is a statistical review of a lot of clinical trials (research studies) using asthma medications that have all been done in the past. The “researchers” are looking at many trial results that were obtained in the past and trying to increase the power of conclusions that may be drawn from combining a lot of diverse data. It (meta-analysis) can be helpful, but, in this case it does not really tell us anything new.

Why?

Well, the standard of care in treating asthma for at least the past 3-5 years has been to not use LABA (long acting bronchodilators or beta agonists) alone as the sole treatment agent for asthma because of the increased risk of complications when this is done. (these LABA drugs are salmeterol and formoterol)

In this same article a physician from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh really sums it up well when she states:

“It looks like LABA alone may not be the right treatment for the pediatric population, and we don’t use it alone.” said Dr. Allyson Larkin, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the division of pulmonary medicine, allergy and immunology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.* (emphasis added)

So, what is my point to all this?

Good question! I have a few points.

Here they are:

First, while headlines are sometimes intended to make it appear that the sky is falling, more often than not there is little reason to run for shelter! It is essential to learn more before drawing conclusions from a sensational headline.

Second, as always, I also think it is wise to never make any sudden unilateral decisions about changing your medication regimen without speaking to your physician partner in care first!

And, lastly, if you are being treated by a physician who has you using LABA alone, find an allergist (an asthma specialist) for evaluation!**

Be kind to yourself!

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Controlled asthma always makes me smile!

I love what I get to do every day as a physician. I would do it all again if I had to choose.

Surgeons get to see the results of their work rather quickly. The appendix is inflammed, the patient is in pain, they remove the appendix and the patient is healed (most often). Quick, right? As a medical specialist, the results of my interactions take time, and multiple steps must take place, from correct diagnosis, correct treatment and my patients following the treatment plan we develop together.

When successful, it feels good, especially for those who have been suffering, sometimes for long periods of time.

So, today I wanted to share a success story with you.
I have been taking care of someone for several months now who has had a troubling cough for over 10 years. It annoyed him (and his wife!). Sleep interrupted by a spouse coughing is troublesome for both parties. We treated some infection in the sinuses, the cough persisted. We then started him on a combination inhaler, Dulera, which is used for the treatment of asthma.

Well, I saw him today for a follow-up office visit. Great news. The cough is gone for 2 months now! Sleeping well, no need for ‘cough medicine’. He is very happy and so is his wife. He thanked me for my help, and as he was leaving, he shook his head and said, “doc, thanks, for 10 years I was coughing like that”. As you probably know, not all asthma wheezes, and cough may be the only way it is manifested. He is a good example of that lesson.

As he left the office both he and I had big smiles on our faces. Controlled asthma always makes me smile!

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