Hi, I'm almost in the same boat as you, if my need for steroid goes any higher. But how many puffs/day of symbicort are you taking? I'm allowed to take up to 8/day of symbicort 200 on a regular basis. That is the beauty of this one. Unfortunately Symbicort doesn't come in a stronger dose,as I was informed by my specialist. The only other one that is stronger is Advair 500...but you can't up the number of puffs on that one like you can with Symbicort, so it too is self limiting. I'm working on this issue yet with my specialist. I will let you know what solution she comes up with...outside of taking oral prednisone on top of it. How much prednisone are you taking daily? I understand that 7 - 10 mg of prednisone is equivalent to your strongest steroid inhalers that are available.
I'm afraid I have no idea on this one. I'm still in the process of working things out with the specialist. She's left me on Symbicort for now and is looking into testing me for GERD. If it's that simple, I will be very happy. Her other alternative was to try 2 things. (1) I am to use the pulmicort 400 ug inhaler in conjunction with the oxeeze inhaler. These are the same two components as in the symbicort. But this way you can get more of the steroid in, however you have to carry two inhalers around now. But a small sacrifice to stay off prednisone. The second option was to try Advair 500, which personally I don't think will work. Talk to your doctor about trying pulmicort 400 with oxeeze. It's better then nothing I figure.
I'm on Symbicort as well, and just this week I started an additional inhaled corticosteroid called Qvar. I'm hoping to be off of Prednisone within the next two weeks. I'll let you know how it goes! :)
I'm not sure Qvar is superior at all though, in fact, in my experience I would guess Flovent to be the most potent of the inhaled corticosteroids. Thought the success of any given treatment really depends on the patient. What has your Pulmonary Specialist said about getting off the Prednisone?
I'm curious, are you using Symbicort as both preventative and rescue? If so, how is it working for you? The reason I ask is because it's not usually used for both purposes yet in the USA. I use Symbicort as a preventative primarily, a maximum of eight times each day, but I use Xopenex for rescue.
I use Symbicort as a preventer and rescue med to a certain degree. I use it when I feel chest tightness a lot, that doesn't go into real shortness of breath. When I'm having a sudden attack of breathing problems then I use Salbutamol (I guess it's like your Albuterol or ventollin). My doctor told me to use symbicort 6 x per day and any additional puffs when I'm having a lot of chest tightness. She said to reserve the rescue inhaler for when you have real attacks that bring you into the yellow zone, which makes sense. Summer is supposed to be my best time. Normally in the past I used only 2puffs/day, but this year for some reason I'm still symptomatic on 6. Keep me informed as to how it goes with your new treatment of Qvar, because I suspect come fall I will need something more.
I'm normally in better control of my asthma symptoms this time of year as well. I have a little trouble with the humidity, but overall, winter is generally my most difficult season. I usually end up with bronchitis all winter. I'm not sure what is going on this summer though.
I've been needing Prednisone much more frequently since about October. I didn't think much of it at first, but now it's July. I just can't barely shake the Prednisone for more than a couple days. It's a little soon to tell, but so far I think the Qvar may be helping. I'll definitely let you know.
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