FROM OUR EXPERTS
In March 2008, in a pre-emptive move, Merck announced that its allergy/asthma drug, Singulair, might cause some people to act on suicidal thoughts. They didn't have any scientific evidence yet, but anecdotal evidence from patients had been coming in. The risk was serious enough that they felt they should let the public know. However, the FDA decided not to take it off the market or even issue a black box warning until the issue could be studied more closely.
Over the past few months, that's exactly what the American Lung Association has endeavored to do. Their findings are due to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology .
So, two researchers at the Lung Association did what they call a "look back" study , where they analyzed data from Singulair's original pre-release clinical trials. They searched the data for clues that Singulair was having an effect on a patient's emotional well-being. The good news is they found no such signals...
One of the frequent questions I've seen here and on other asthma websites is whether asthma can be safely treated with (cheaper) over the counter medicines. So, I thought I'd use this post to explore the answers to that question.
Before I get started, though, let's refresh your memory about a couple of asthma facts:
Asthma is very treatable. While asthma is a chronic, long-term illness that often can't be avoided in the first place, the good news is that it is fairly easily treatable in most cases. With the right treatment, people who have asthma should be able to live full, active lives without many -- or any -- limits.
The best treatment for the majority of people with asthma is a daily or twice daily inhaled steroid. Of course, no one medicine works best for everyone, but research has shown that inhaled steroids are generally the most effective asthma medicine. If they are used correctly, as prescribed, they should control your symptoms most of the time.
The treatment of acid reflux can be complicated and frustrating for many patients. When treatments based on lifestyle and dietary changes fail many patients require medications to deal with their disease. Until recently most of these treatments required a trip to see a physician and a prescription.
Medications like Zantac , Prilosec, and Prevacid have already been added to the OTC market. The FDA has also recently approved Axid and Zegrid for over the counter preparations. While there are definitely benefits to having these medicines over the counter there can also be issues for many patients.
The first problem can be related to insurance coverage for your medications. There are many patients who found themselves forced to pay more for prescriptions once they went over the counter because their insurance no longer covered the medications. If you find this to be the case for you it can help to file an appeal with your insurer or discuss alternatives with your physician. Ma...
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