Asthma attack-so frusterated!!!

Hi guys,

So after a long pred. taper (mostly due to not wanting my psoriatic arthritis to flare), I finally took my last 5 mg. of pred. last Wed. 1/9. And I was doing just fine. Then I decided to take a 20 min. walk in the woods, because I was feeling good, and wanted to be outdoors. It was a heat wave where the temp. was high for January, but it was also rainy and muddy.

Well, it went from coughing on Sat., to chest tightness/coughing a bit on Sun., to chest pain (but not too bad) on Mon. with some wheezing, well yes and productive cough. To uping my preventer inhaler on Mon. to pulling out my neb. because my rescue inhalers weren't working too much, to finally giving in to taking 40 mg. of pred. last night after wheezing with chest pain for like 5 hours at work.

It turns out I can feel pretty miserable when I can't breathe! Meanwhile, well I was good today at work this morning, my neb. was still wearing off hours too soon, but I was doing O.K. with only chest pains coming and going...not constant...until I had to talk to this irrate family member, who I couldn't just up and leave because he was irate! Well, he must smoke, because I started wheezing standing there, and then I couldn't move for several minutes!

Anyways, had a pretty horrible time this evening. I called my pulmonologist who works on my floor (irronically) but haven't heard from him. Told him I started pred. Which I think is O.K., the problem is it isn't working so hot.

Is it supposed to kick in 100% right away, or is it supposed to take a few days? I guess I wish I could talk to my doctor before the weekend.


9 Replies

  • Hi Bee

    sorry to hear youre javing such a rough time again!

    I think that if oral pred is at suffocient/correct dose you should feel some difference between 6-12 hours after takong it.

    Re the tapering: ive been told that if major pred doses are for less than 3 days then it can just be stopped without all the tapering jigging about. But im not sure if that was supposed to apply only to the occassional pred doses and not long term?

    I sympathise. Ive been on pred nearly 6 years now and am just (hopefully) seeong the end of it npw.

    I hope things improve amd you feel better soon!

    Rose xx

  • Don't have much information, just sympathy.

    I certainly understand wishing to talk to your doctor sooner rather than later.

    For me during these last three months, the effects of pred seem to vary a lot. The first trial (0 to 60mg) last November, I felt it beginning to take effect within two hours or so. The third time when I went from 0 to 40mg in mid December, it also made a very noticeable difference within 8hrs.  But increasing from 20mg to 40mg for the last week didn't make a huge difference beyond making me less quickly reactive to things like changes in exercise level.

    The only thing I can suggest is to listen to your body so you can give your doctor as good information as possible when you do talk to him.

    Hoping you feel better soon and that the weekend passes quickly!

  • It is so frustrating when you think you're improving and then it all goes wrong again :( Hope you get to speak to your Dr before the weekend. I agree to note down carefully symptoms and perceived triggers so that you can give him as much info as poss.

    Take it easy and rest up. Also remember that it does get better and it is just a process, even though it is a very frustrating one x

  • Thanks guys. You're the best!

    I have this well worked out action plan now at home, only I always seem to find little glitches when I use it. Partly because I'm pretty O.K. one minute/one hour, and then pretty bad another minute or hour later.

    I can definitely tell the pred. is doing something, as my chest pain was improved for a good part of yesterday, even though some of it was quite bad. I also woke up coughing this morning and my peak flow was 220.

    One of my issues is I always second guess myself, and think it must not be that bad! Only it is. Then I'm afraid if I talk to my doctor (even though he's a very kind person) he'll think I'm making it up. I went through a lot of bad specialists to get this one.

    And then I'm not really sure what to say at work. I am going into work today, because there are two important pieces of paperwork that only I can do. But I think I might need to give my supervisor a heads up that I might only be there for a half day, you know. Also, I realized I am allowed to do back to back nebs (one time thing), and I probably should have tried that yesterday, but it's rather aquard to have to explain this to co-workers, and if I don't explain, well sometimes they take it as I'm being lazy, you know? And of course my office is on the other side of creation from where I do my actual work on a hospital floor. Grrr.

    I'm hoping that the pred. will kick in more soon. My old allergist had this nice note she would give out, that I never really used, but it would excuse you from two days of work, because that's how long they said it usually was to get the pred. fully in your system.

    Also, I was sort of thinking, this time if I'm only on it a few days, I won't taper. But do you find if you've been on pred. recently, that when you have an asthma issue again, you're more likely to have to take pred. for a few days for it? It seems to me when I taper any of my asthma meds (including going down a step on inhalers) it often takes a few tries.


  • So I called my pulmonologist this morning and asked if I could go in (twice actually). They said they were booked but they would have him call me, but if I was short of breathe and having chest pain I needed to go to the ED.

    So I'm at work, planning my escape to the ED, and mention this to a co-worker who was actually quite helpful. Although it was a bit embarrassing. She came up to my floor, took over my most important SW case, and walked me over to the ER, then had someone get my purse and things for me.

    So off I went. Not sure what to make of it all, but they took me quite seriously, gave me oxygen/xopenex/ipatropium neb., and went right onto IV magnesium. I've never had IV magnesium before. It felt wonderful! Then gave me a second neb. treatment.

    There was one terrible moment where someone decided to open the doors to the outside permanently, right when I was starting to feel better, and it's like freezing temp. outside! But I raised a ruckus, and they got me moved out of the draft.

    So it ended with the doctor basically offering to admit me. I wasn't sure if I should have asked to be admitted? Sometimes I get scared at home, but I suppose I'm hoping the extra meds helped, and laying low for the weekend with my new 60 mg. pred. will do the trick.

    I will also go to see my lung specialist in person on Monday at 3 p.m. I don't know, maybe he should have admitted me, but I get VERY anxious in hospitals which isn't really helpful, and what happens when you get admitted? Since it hasn't ever happened to me, is your work generally understanding, or does it create more stress than laying low at home when being home is an O.K. option.


  • Hey Bee

    glad to hear you got the help you needed atthe ER and are starting to feel better.

    If the doc suggested you be admitted then it would be because he thought you needed it but the choice is up to you. And if you get anxious in hossie that might not help the asthma?

    I dont work but I would imagine that showing thwm proof of an admission is more irrefutable than the ""i had a chest inf. So stayed home"" but it might help anyway to show them any paperwork proof from your ER visit. But mainly it would depend on hw nice ajd cooperative work ususally are. Tjats the big variable.

    Hugs for a fast recovery ;-)

    Rose xx

  • Hi bee,

    I love iv magnesium sulphate, it is usually my wonder drug and it sounds like ut us yours too! I find it reassuring to knoe that if nebs aren't working there are other things that do :-)

    I've had the 'we should really admit you' conversation many times but like you I prefer to be home as I'm calmer, get sleep (i always seem to get a poor senile lady in the bed next to me when I'm admitted) and generally rest up better.

    There are times when being admitted can't be avoided as you still need extra meds (usually iv) and morr regular nebs so they need to keep you in to monitor heart rate, oxygen etc.

    Rest up.


  • Yeah I think admitting me was an O.K. idea, but I usually feel like climbing the walls! I've only been admitted though around surgeries I've had for my congenital heart defects, so wasn't sure what to expect them to do for asthma.

    But I'm going to talk this over with my pulmonologist on Mon. as he knows me the best. And I probably do down play the amount of time I get chest pain. You know, I just get so used to it!

    Yeah, I like the magnesium was made me SO relaxed and it might as well have been morphine :). LOL.

    Meanwhile, my chest pain is better, and now I'm busy hacking up a lung, but at least all that trapped mucus is coming out, and it's all white. I think this is all mold allergy, not even an infection or virus or anything. It sill amazes me how strong my allergies are.

    Oh, and I do go for acupuncture and went this morning. That helps too as it keeps me more relaxed.


  • Hoping you feel better very soon.

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