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.
Medications to have at home
Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2011 Feb 16;2:CD001364.
Simasek M, Blandino DA. Treatment of the common cold. Am Fam Physician . Feb 2007;75(4):515-520.
Semrad CE, Powell DW. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 143.
Boes CJ, Capobianco DJ, Cutrer FM, et al. Headache and other craniofacial pain. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 73.
Atopic dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 5.
You should know
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