I was shocked to read the Asthma UK action plan the other day (I've never had my own). It classes the red zone as, amongst others, using a reliever more than every 4 hours. The treatment for this is to start taking pred.
Would this be true for most people - the pred bit?
Ermm, I would be on pred a lot! I have discussed feeling a bit uncontrolled with my doc recently, but he's reluctant to start me on a theophylline because of side effects, and I think he doesn't think I need it - which he may well be right about. I'm on Seretide (Fluticasone/Salmeterol) and Montelukast. Having thought about his answer for a few weeks, I think he's right for a few reasons - and I dont think I'm bad enough (yet).
I occasionally have days without using ventolin, but certainly use it most days. I probably average 6-12 puffs a day, but can easily get to 20 or 30 without worrying, if it's keeping me walking and talking. That's only a couple of nebs. I only worry if its not working at all, i.e. in a sudden attack.
I thought pred was a last resort - infact to quote a doctor, 'it's only used as a last ditch attempt to save your life', and then reels off side effects.
I'm pretty active, have a reasonable level of fitness, and have a high threshold for worrying, so I think this can sometimes deceive my doctor about how bad I feel.
So, two questions. 1. What criteria would make a moderately bad asthmatic with a history of sudden attacks start taking pred? 2. Are the side effects of theophylline really bad? (Bearing in mind I avoid coffee with lots of ventolin, because it makes me shaky and feel weird.)
PS I really, really hate pred.