- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
A Substitute for Primatene Mist Inhaler: Treatment for Asthma
Ever since Primatene Mist was taken off the market last year, many people have been scrambling to find some help for their asthma problems. The ones that do not have insurance are especially hurting to find a solution that they can afford. Whether they had insurance or not, the ones that went to a doctor and got a prescription were reporting that the prescription medicine did not work as well for them.
I decided to talk to some doctors about prescription asthma inhalers, mostly to find out which one was the closest to Primatene Mist. I found out that asthma inhalers, whether prescription or not should not be the primary treatment for asthma.
I am speaking with several professionals in the medical industry and will be reporting my findings in a series of articles. In this article, I will discuss what I learned during my telephone interview with Dr. Mary Ann Block of The Block Center.
Asthma Inhalers are band-aids
According to Dr. Block, asthma inhalers are band-aids, since they cover the symptoms without fixing the problem. The solution is to find the trigger of the asthma and fix the underlying problem.
The most common trigger of asthma is allergies. By treating the allergies, you can reduce your asthma symptoms, and therefore reduce your dependence on asthma inhalers. There are other triggers as well, such as viruses, cold weather and exercise, but most of these are still allergy related. The allergies constrict the air passages, and the other causes trigger the attack.
Test for Allergies
Instead of using the pinprick test which tests for multiple allergies at a time, Dr. Block tests for them one at a time using a peak flow meter. In this way, she can determine specifically which of the allergens cause asthma problems. She can check for four to six allergens in one visit but generally checks for about twenty allergens in total.
Once she determines what allergies the patient has, she can give him a weaker and weaker dose to find the treatment dose. This is called provocation neutralization. This form of therapy is used extensively by Otolarygologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) and family physicians, but is not used by allergists who use desensitization instead.
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Magnesium for Asthma
Dr. Block uses a magnesium injection to treat asthma. She said, "One injection will stop wheezing instantly. The magnesium relaxes the bronchioles and prevents ongoing spasms. Once the magnesium is loaded with an injection, the individual with asthma may be able to just take oral magnesium to keep the asthma away."
Once the magnesium shot is given, it can last for days, weeks, months or forever, depending on the person. Some patients never need another injection again, while others may need another injection every few months.
Additional Facts about Magnesium
Magnesium is needed in 350 biochemical processes and affects many bodily functions.
Side effects of magnesium shot is tenderness at the injection site. Side effects of magnesium can be diarrhea. She recommends buying a quality brand of magnesium, since cheaper brands may cause diarrhea sooner. Some also contain calcium which can invoke broncho-spasms.
Magnesium is water soluble so it is difficult to overdose on it. It is given to pregnant women by IV for toxemia. You can overdose on it only if you take it by IV and have kidney problems.
There is a blood test to check for magnesium deficiency, but Dr. Block stated that it is not very accurate. The gold standard of testing is the magnesium challenge test which is a urine test, which measures the amount of magnesium that has been retained by the body after a magnesium injection.
Prescription Inhalers for Asthma
Dr. Block does prescribe Albuterol as a rescue inhaler for asthma. She has found though, that by treating the underlying cause of asthma, her patients find that they do not need to use the rescue inhaler very often. She recommends that Advair does not be used as a first line medicine, because it is not recommended for that purpose by the FDA.
Meet Dr. Mary Ann Block
Books by Dr. Block on Amazon
About Dr. Block
Dr. Mary Ann Block, DO, PA is the Medical Director of The Block Center in Hurst, Texas. She focuses on a natural and holistic approach to family health. She prefers to find and treating underlying causes of medical issues instead of simply treating symptoms.
She is an international speaker about health issues. She has appeared on The Montel Williams Show, 48 Hours, and other television programs. She has testified at legislative hearings on the dangers of the psychiatric drugging of children.
Treating the underlying cause is very important to me. I have found that keeping my allergies under control makes me much less dependent on asthma inhalers. I rarely use an inhaler, even though I do keep one around in case of emergency.
Since I am not a patient of Dr. Mary Ann Block, have not been tested for allergies using the peak flow meter, and have not used magnesium supplements, I cannot comment on whether these tests and treatments will work for you. It does make sense to me to test specifically which allergies are the asthma triggers, so you can take particular care to avoid them. Since the magnesium supplements are safe and can help many other bodily functions, it seems like they would be worth trying.
Asthma can be very expensive, particularly if you don't have insurance. Since Primatene Mist is no longer available over the counter, it is even more important to find and treat the underlying cause of asthma. By keeping the allergies under control, you may find that you do not need to rely on an asthma inhaler. You may also find that you will save money and the aggravation of an asthma attack.