a girl using an asthma inhaler, risk of asthma

Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal has an amazing article about asthma on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times (10-13-13). It was titled The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath. She revealed that 40 million Americans have asthma, but the cost of the medications is breaking the bank.

According to Dr. Rosenthal, two popular inhalers, Advair and Symbicort, cost somewhere between $250 and $350. They usually last about a month. Global sales of the two products totaled over $11 billion. GSK spent $99 million advertising Advair. A shot of the new asthma medicine Xolair can cost as much as $1500 and needs to be repeated every two weeks. Over 100 million prescriptions are dispensed for asthma drugs every year.

Keep in mind that none of these medications cures asthma. At best, drugs like Advair (fluticasone-salmeterol), Alvesco (ciclesonide), Asmanex (mometasone), Dulera (mometasone-formoterol), Flovent (fluticasone), Foradil (formoterol), ProAir (albuterol), Pulmicort (budesonide), Serevent (salmeterol), Singulair (montelukast), Spiriva (tiotropium), Symbicort (budesonide-formoterol), Ventolin (albuterol) or Zyflo (zileuton) help control symptoms.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) like budesonide, fluticasone and mometasone calm the inflammatory lung reaction by suppressing the immune system. But there is no free ride. Side effects include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis/sinus infection, pharyngitis
  • Throat irritation, hoarseness, vocal disturbances, Candida (yeast) infections in mouth or throat, polyps
  • Headache
  • Digestive tract distress, nausea, vomiting, gastritis
  • Cough, nasal inflammation and/or congestion
  • Arthritis or muscle aches and pains, muscle cramps & spasms
  • Skin rash, itching, allergic reaction, angioedema, bruising (purpura)
  • Suppression of the adrenal glands
  • Growth retardation in children
  • Visual disturbances, cataracts, glaucoma
  • Osteoporosis, reduced bone mineral density

Even more worrisome are the complications associated with long-acting bronchodilators (LABAs). These include salmeterol (found in Advair & Serevent) and formoterol (in Foradil and Symbicort). There is an ongoing controversy about the benefits and risks of LABAs. That’s because such drugs have been linked with an increased risk of fatal or potentially fatal asthma episodes.” There is also a concern that LABAs can have adverse effects on the heart among older patients.

What if many cases of hard-to-treat asthma could be cured instead of managed? That is the basis for Dr. David Hahn’s new book, A Cure for Asthma? What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You–and Why. David Hahn, MD, MS, has devoted decades to studying the root cause of many cases of asthma. He has discovered that infection with a sneaky bacterium called Chlamydia pneumoniae may be responsible for a great deal of lung inflammation and airway constriction. Ignoring the infection by treating symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath leads to lifelong exposure to medication and often a great deal of suffering.

Dr. Hahn offers an alternative. He has found a way to help the body eliminate the smoldering infection. It involves the antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak).  To learn more about the science and read amazing stories from people who have benefited from Dr. Hahn’s research and regimen, check out his brand new book, A Cure for Asthma? You can watch a video with Dr. Hahn and Jim Quinlan, whose story is featured in the book.

We are proud to be publishing this ground-breaking book. If you know someone with asthma, please let him or her know about this important information. We are offering an early bird discount for those who place the order before our official publication date of November 28th, 2013. Save 15% by ordering today. The discount code when you check out is CURE15. Here is a link to more information about Dr. Hahn’s provocative new book. If you want to go straight to the shopping cart, here is the link.

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  1. T. Ashton Lott
    Jackson, MS

    Has the Zithromycin been effective in allergic asthma? I moved to another house last spring, and I have had serious asthma flare-ups more often than ever before. I became allergic to fleas
    and insect bites since living here and it makes me have serious breathing problems. My asthma was never this out of control. Will the Z-pack help someone with my allergies?

  2. rujoss

    Thanks for the info about playing a wind instrument! I’ll bring out my old clarinet and drive may family crazy! Please send or post the link you mentioned.

  3. MR

    This sounds great, but I’m surprised that you did not include any reference to the news previously reported on the Peoples Pharmacy that Z-pak can scramble heart rhythm. Are there precautions listed in the book, and maybe instructions for such things as building up magnesium and potassium levels before taking Z-pak, and taking probiotics concurrently and afterwards?
    Dear MR,
    There are precautions carefully listed in the book, but it does not discuss the use of probiotics.

  4. DS

    Keep me posted.

  5. Donnie

    I have asthma that is triggered by perfumes and products that contain fragrances, Triclosan/Microban, formaldehyde, VOCs, sulfites, diesel exhaust and other toxic chemical fumes. They really make me short of breath and wheezy. I can control my asthma by avoiding exposure to them, as much as possible. My allergies can cause minor asthma symptoms, but don’t make me very sick.

  6. Ruth, age 74

    Thank you, retired RN, for validating the fact that Advair and Fluticasone do have effects on osteoporosis and arthritis, both of which are increasingly worse. I haven’t had an asthma attack for maybe 18 years, but my peak flow volume is just 300, so I’m afraid to stop the Advair.

  7. Sid W

    I was referred to an allergist at Kaiser Permanent who treated my asthma with azithromycin. After the first regimen he recommended another course of zithro, warning me that I could experience digestive problems. So I took the second batch of antibiotic and ate one or two yogurts per day. My asthma disappeared as suddenly as it came on, years before. I keep some Dulera on hand but only need to use it on rare occasions, such as when the weather changes, and then not very much.
    I did experience some stomach cramping as a very short-term reaction to the zithro. Considering my results I would recommend that you print this article out and show it to your allergist.
    Sadly, not every case of asthma is based upon a deep lung infection, but it is worth trying the cure. My asthma was so bad that my ex-wife was calling it COPD.

  8. EW

    My Mother, who died in 1994, was diagnosed with asthma and unsuccessfully treated for it the last ten years of her life. When I reached 60 I started to develop a bad cough like she had had. The doctor immediately assumed it was asthma. Not wanting to take medication I avoided the drugs and suffered. However, six years ago I went on a diet that cut out a wide variety of things – gluten, dairy, eggs, meat. The cough stopped completely within three days. When I added the products back one at a time after two weeks, I discovered that the cough came back when I added milk. The allergy to milk is pronounced. I can eat it in some things, and eat a little cheese, but basically need to steer clear. How many times is an allergy the cause of the problem?

  9. nb

    Thanks for this information. I am on those inhaled prescriptions and I have every one of the side effects.

  10. Cm

    I, too, have asthma and my drug costs are exorbitant! I would prefer using the surgical method of thermoplasty but my allergist says it is not reliable. I fear Zithromax due to arrythmia side effects from it that can lead to continual problems of the heart.
    I took Adviar discus for years and had EKG changes that were worrisome and ended up yearly at the cardiologists UNTIL my change to Asthmanex and a return to a normal EKG.
    It is really difficult to know how to proceed.
    I am on the Asthmanex, Spiriva, Fluticasone and Xolair (every two weeks)and have not had the sinus infections, asthma attacks but am now dealing and have been with osteoporosis and arthritis. Aging is and has a multitude of side effects.
    I love your postings and being up to date with advances in health care. Thank you.
    A retired RN

  11. Leonard Allman

    One of the non-drug solutions for asthma is to actively play a brass or reed woodwind musical instrument. I have a copy of a well documented and researched article on Wind Instruments and Asthma Therapy (not written by me). Please email me for details. Additionally, I direct a New Horizons Band for adult beginners, a few members play successfully in spite of having asthma or COPD.

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