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“Rescue” Inhaler – Part of Your Daily Meds?

I've been pondering this for a while and it's on my list of questions for the next time I see my doc. But then @Shea made :

I had my followup today, ended up being with a NP with a student–they are like, you shouldnt have such a high pulse rate all the time (i am always over 100) and you shouldnt have to use your recue inhaler more than twice a week (i use mine 3-4 x a day along with nebs when im on my normal prednisone

My current Asthma Action Plan has me take albuterol in the AM along w/ Atrovent and QVar. I've been wondering if that would be counted in the "no more than twice a week" count. It's part of my prevention, not for rescue. I also take it for pre-treating before exercise and I know I'm not to count it in that case. In fact, the doc always phrases it that way – how often are you taking albuterol when not pretreating for exercise.

Does anyone else take short acting meds on a daily basis as part of your prevention plan? What has your doc told you about "counting" that toward needing to use your "rescue" inhaler?

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  • Pljohns

    kathy-being that my action plan is now 3 years since the last update or even discussion, I'm probably not the best answer.  but, on my old one I never used albuteral as part of my daily meds.  They have always been strictly rescue meds.  I use a LABA and inhaled(neb) steroids) for my maintenance and then throw in other things as needed.

  • K8sMom2002

    The only time that we take short acting rescue inhalers on a daily basis is as part of our sick plan. Then we use it several times a day whether we "need" it or not, because we really do need it. 

    I think this is part of the reason it helps for people to have a good understanding of their asthma plan, what each piece is for, and what needs to be changed or tweaked when circumstances change.

    It also helps to have a written and signed-by-your-doc plan to take with you to an ER or if another doc is covering. Asthma is unique, so each person needs his or her own plan based on his or her own needs.

  • LK

    My doctor has me take my ProAir as a preventative before going to the horse barn/riding.  I also take it as soon as I get up in the morning if I can tell I'm going to start coughing.  My doctor says, as yours does, not to count those times.  He always has me fill out the asthma questionnaire at each visit.  Can't remember when we went over my asthma action plan but will have him go over it at my next appointment.

  • Dar007

    My doctor and I are working hard to get things under control enough so that i don't have to use my rescue. I am happy to say i have found a combination of medications  that seem to be working for me! (So far so good! Knock on wood..) But now my insurance (I get it through work) has decided that because I am not using my rescue more that three times a week, they aren't covering for my daily asthma medications that are actually working. So, I am debating on just stopping everything and saving myself $200 a month. 

  • Jen

    @Dar007 Would you be able to talk to your doctor about possibly writing a letter to the insurance company?

  • Kathy P
    Dar007 posted:

    But now my insurance (I get it through work) has decided that because I am not using my rescue more that three times a week, they aren't covering for my daily asthma medications that are actually working. So, I am debating on just stopping everything and saving myself $200 a month. 

    Wow, that seems kind of backwards. We take daily meds so we don't have to take rescue meds. Can your doc appeal the denial?

  • Dar007

    @Kathy P and @Jen I would, but I finally found something that is working for me. I am nervous he puts me in something else that isn't as affective. 

  • K8sMom2002

    How frustrating, @Dar007! Does your insurance offer the option to appeal? 

    Could you talk to your human resources department and see if they have a person who talks to the insurance company? I know in my old company, we had that. Our insurance broker would serve as a go-between us and the insurance company.

  • Dar007

    @K8sMom2002 It is! So very frustrating! So, people who take high blood pressure medication, to correct their problem, still get covered? Diabetics? That is what makes me angry. I found something that works for me and allows me to go to work and lead a normal life. I just don't get their reasoning. And why am I paying them for coverage then? So twice a year I can get my teeth cleaned and an occasional massage? lol (I should tell my dentist to not do too good a job and only make my teeth partly clean or else I will not get covered for that too!). Ok, the sarcasm is over. Haha 

    My father told me to go to my union rep and my family doctor to see what i can do. I am just so busy right now and so tired. When I do have time off, I catch up on sleep.  I just don't need this right now. 

  • Megan Roberts

    Ugh, @Dar007, that stinks. Hope you are able to find some avenue to appeal the decision and get it covered again. Agreed that the preventative care for asthma is as necessary as preventative care for other chronic conditions/diseases/body parts! Also can relate to the overwhelmed/exhausted feeling of having to jump through hoops just to get the same treatment you know has worked for you in the past. Let us know how it goes. 

  • K8sMom2002

    @Dar007, extremely frustrating! 

    Is there a way you could email this information to your doctor and/or your union rep and see if you could delegate it? I can definitely understand about being tired and catching up on sleep. 

    Still if your insurance won't cover your doctor's plan, then could you at least give your doc a heads-up about it? They may be able to make a call for you and at least see what is going on. 

  • Tiffany F.

    Kathy,  please get a second opinion on this.   I was told by multiple pulms that albuterol has less efficacy if it is over-used.  So when you really DO need it for a "rescue" or "emergency" situation it won't have the effect on you.  Your body will be too used to it.  Please don't take this regularly!    If your doctor is telling you to, I would see someone else and confirm this.  Every doctor I've spoke to is very against using albuterol too much.  

  • Kathy P

    Thanks for that info Tiffany. I don't have an appointment scheduled with my allergist, but maybe I'll email him.I definitely have seen people overuse Albuterol. One friend was just constantly taking his puffer. But this before there were good controller meds.

  • LK

    My internist told me when I was first diagnosed not to overuse my rescue inhaler.  He said too much of it would not be helping, but would irritate my lungs even more.  Maybe that's because I have cough-variant asthma, I don't know.

    So I think at first, I was leery of using it too much so I wasn't using it enough.   Kind of had to learn by trial and error.  Guess I had a long learning curve!