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May 23, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 23, 1997

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Asthma Continued from page 28 rive in preventing exercised-induced asth- ma when taken 20 minutes before exercise. The goal in using inhaled anti-inflammato- ry drugs is to relieve and prevent the symp- toms of asthma while eliminating or mini- mizing the use of oral steroids. Bronchodilator meds There are two types of bronchodilator medicationsi beta-agonists and theo- phyllines. These medications reverse the muscle spasm in the lungs, thereby dilating constricted airways. Beta-agonists are derivatives of epineph- fine and are classified according to their onset and duration of action. Rapid acting (two to five minutes) and short duration (two to six hours) drugs include albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)i terbutaline (Brethaire), bitolterol (Tornalate), metapro- teranol (Alupent, Metaprel), and pirbuterol (Maxair). These drugs can be administered by either metered dose inhalers ("puffers") or by a nebulizer as a continuous mist. Either method, when used by proper technique, is equally effective. These medications are useful in preventing the onset of symptoms and for treating an acute .attack of bron- chospasm. In contrast, salmeterol (Serevent) is a long-duration (10 to 12 hours) but delayed acting (30 to 45 minutes) beta agonist. Sal- meterol is used exclusively to prevent asth- matic attacks and not to treat acute episodes and is similar in use to theophylline drugs but avoids systemic side-effects by being inhaled rather than taken as a pill. Theophyllines are oral medications which come in twice-a-day formulations such as Theodur, Slobid and generic prepa- rations or once a day products, Theo-24, uniphyl and unidur. They are used as a third line drug in combination with anti- inflammatory drugs and beta-agonists. They are especially useful in preventing nocturnal symptoms. Although asthma is best treated by putting the medication where the disease is (in the lung) by using inhalers, some asth- matics require additional medications or cannot use inhaled drugs. Oral forms of albuterol (Proventil Repetabs, Volmax), terbutaline (Brethine) and metatproteranol (Alupent) are available for similar use. Use medications correctly To be effective, medications need to be used properly. Oral medications must be taken; as pre- scribed and inhaled medications must be used with proper techniques. Improper use of inhalers is common and renders them useless. There are several ways to use inhalers; it is important to carefully learn one and use faithfully. Spacers can be used with all inhalers and can improve delivery of medication to the lung but also must be used properly. All steroids, non-steroidals and beta,tgonists are available as inhalers. Only some med- ications, are available as solutions for use in nebulizers. An effective regimen for treating asthma is usually comprised of an inhaled anti- inflammatory drug, usually a steroid, plus an inhaled short or long acting bronchodila-., tor. Spacer devices are useful in adminis- CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, May 23 - May 29, 1997 - 34 tering inhaled medications, range of medications which can provide Some patients will require a theophylline asthmatics relief from their disease. The or an oral beta-agonist product to supple- proper choice and proper use of these med- ment these drugs. Self-monitoring using a ications is crucial to attaining and maintain- peak flow meter which gives an objective ing this relief. measurement of lung function helps to fore- Briefly warn of worsening asthma. Patients using peak flow meters can often avoid an asthma attack by self-medicating themselves with presribed rescue medica- tions. Arthritis support group to meet Other therapies available at Beebe Tuesday, May 27 Beebe Medical Center and the Arthritis For patients whose asthma is unrespon- sive to aggressive therapy with commonly Foundation co-sponsor a support group for people with arthritis, family members and prescribed drugs, unusual therapies are friends and other interested parties. available. These therapies are utilized as a last resort only when patients fail normal For more information, call 645-3263. therapy and require continuous doses of oral corticosteroids. Support available for those Called "steroid-sparing", these treatment impacted by Alzheimer's regimens utilize various anti-inflammatory A support group for Alzheimer's Disease drugs such as methotrexate (also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis) and cholchicine and other mentally impaired diseases meets at Beebe Medical Center's Gull House, 23 (also used to treat gout) in an attempt to reduce oral steroids and their severe side Terrace Street (Bay Mart Shopping Center, effects, the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 In the near future, a new class of asthma to 3 p.m. For more information, call Kathy Schlit- drugs, leukotriene receptor antagonists, will ter at 226-2160. be available. Leukotienes contribute to development and continuation of inflam- mation in the lung. Zileuton (Leutrol) Free diabetes screening set at should be available soon as a new anti- inflammatory drug for the treatment of Beebe for Wednesday, May 28 acute asthma and may have a role in chron- Beebe Medical Center, in conjunction ic asthma, with the American Diabetes Association, Despite a greater knowledge of asthma provides free blood glucose testing (by fin- and the availability of new medications, get stick) each Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. asthma remains a complex and at times, dif- in the Phlebotomy Lab on the first floor. ficult disease to treat. Patients should take the test two hours after It requires careful and conscientious ther- eating a normal meal. apy. There are now an ever-broadening Call 645-3568 for an appointment. Respite Care Services at HARRISON HOUSE OF GEORGETOWN .4 Skilled Care Facility Specializing in Alzbeimer's Care Alzbeime's disease is a devastating illness. Millions of Americans have fallen victim to this degenerative brain disorder. The majority of those a/cted are often cared for at home until such time when their physical and behavioral actions make it impossible for a family member to care for on a 24-hour basis. The Respite Care Services at Harrison House of Georgetown offer caregivers a respite from the responsibility of caring for a loved one with Alzhehner's Disease. Through short term stays at Harrison House of Georgetown, patients can be cared for a weekend or up to several weeks. Admissiom Director HARRISON HOUSE OF GEORGETOWN 110 West North Street Georgetown, DE 19947 (302) 856-,4574 "Protecting Fertih'ty and Having A Healthy Baby" TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 1997 SPEAKER: Dr.Willis Boyd Obstetrics/Gynecology LOCATION: South Coastal Library Bethany Beach TIME: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Beebe Medical Center This is a free seminar. Please call 645-3332 to register. 424 Savannah Rd., Lewes, DE