Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm a Total Junkie

Meaning that I have about a million prescriptions that I take on a daily basis. I like to make jokes about my druggie status - I'm almost always on something with some kind of side effect, I carry around my stash in a little bag (or sometimes bags) everywhere I go, and I'm constantly on the phone fighting with my "dealers" about prices, deliveries, and dosage. When I tried to donate blood once the woman looked at my veins and immediately asked me if I had ever been an IV drug user, to which I (totally obliviously) actually answered yes without thinking. THAT was a fun one to try and explain my way out of, by the way.

Anyway, the point of all this is that as of yesterday the number of drugs in my medicine chest officially went up to a million and one. I added Pulmicort -- the neb version -- which is apparently a corticosteroid similar to prednisone. (See previous posts for my thoughts on prednisone and all its awesomeness.) So now I'm on yet another version of this thing, but I get to neb it this time. It's basically round two, only now it involves more time and takes up more space on my counter. Lovely.

The thing is, I tried it this morning and discovered that, especially when taken right after albuterol, this drug makes me totally shakey and jittery, and it lasts for quite a while after I've finish the neb. Seriously, I was trying to write and finding it difficult because my hands were shaking. It actually bordered on funny: there I was in the law firm and while my brain was perfectly focused I felt like my body was all over the place. I was delibrately trying to steady myself just to keep from spilling my coffee. And yes, I am in fact dumb enough to drink caffeine while already on a steroid rush. Suffice it to say that I think I'll cut the coffee out of tomorrow's routine.

By the way, gotta love the internet. I decided to look up "pulmicort side effects" and found an asthma message board of some kind where mothers were writing in to tell about how their kids had started wetting the bed and chewing their toenails (TOEnails, mind you) since starting on this drug. Hmmm. Maybe I should be thankful I'm just feeling a little ADDish.

I shouldn't complain -- I'm actually pretty excited to see if this helps me keep down my rate of infections and exacerbations. I respond so well to prednisone, despite the side effects, that I'm always really relieved when my doc tells me to go on it again. So this will maybe be a longer term solution, and that would definitely make it all worth it. I just wonder, has anyone else out there tried this drug? And did you find that you had a lot of side effects or shakiness? I'm kind of curious to see if this is going to affect my appetite or my sleep patterns like prednisone does. I never get roid rage or anything (knock on wood), but I definitely do eat a lot on steroids.

Happy drugging everyone.


  1. Good luck with your new drug! I never knew Pulmicort came in neb form. I am chewing my fingernails to the nub since increasing my prednisone. I hope you don't resort to the toenail chewing. :)
    Hopefully the shakiness will decrease as your body becomes used to the med. ADD is no fun!

  2. I use Pulmicort in inhaler form - it's actually called a Flex-haler or something and it's a dry powder thing. I do one 'puff' in the morning and one at night - doesn't take any more extra time than say, popping one extra pill, and I don't notice any jitters or anything like that. I never had 'roid rage on Prednisone either and I don't notice anything like that with this new inhaler. Here's a link:

    The only thing I have to do is make sure to rinse my mouth out so I don't get thrush (eww) - I brush my teeth right after, too, since I'm paranoid like 'dat!

    Maybe you could switch from nebbing it to just a couple Flexhaler puffs?? That might be a decent compromise between adding the med that can really help and losing more time every day in nebs.

  3. Hey girl - I was on pulmicort in an attempt to replace cromolyn sodium.... the drug showed me no love! but like pulmicort, flovent and advair contain steroids so I take my flovent now advair in hopes for that fun steroid effect. Keep me posted on how you like the pulmicort!!!

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  5. My daughter takes Flovent (she's only 2 and uses an Aero Chamber)-this was just added about 6 weeks ago. Because I'm new with this, I'm curious...did they tell you why it's better for you to use the nebulized Pulmicort? Do they actually differ in any way other than one's a neb and one's an inhaler?

  6. Alicia, I'm on Advair (which is a combo flovent/serevent inhaler) as well, so I'm familiar with steroid inhalers. My doc actually didn't say why she was recommending the nebbed version, although she did say when she was explaining the drug that it came in both an inhaler and nebbed form. I'm going to email her and ask about the difference, but it may have something to do with my lung function, which is fairly low. Some people argue that patients with low lung function get less benefit from inhalers b/c it is difficult to get the medicine into the lungs propoerly. I'll keep you posted on her answer.

  7. I haven't used Pulmicort in so long I kinda forgot about those lovely side effects. I'm on medrol right now, the pills, and it sucks! I love that you call it "calling my dealers"! Sometimes I think i'm fighting a losing battle with meds. They are a fortune. At least I have insurance I guess.

  8. OHHH sounds like fun!!!!! I get the shakes from albuterol if I do it in a certain neb cup.

    I am laughing thinking of you at work trying your darndest to write and laughing at yourself as you hold your hand steady!!!!!

  9. I've just started nebbing pulmicort too. I've been doing for about 5 weeks now. When I neb mine I was told to mix it with my xopenex. At the moment I am not feeling to well, which has been going on for a few weeks now. So I honestly can't tell if I have any side effects. I neb mine first thing in the morning and last before I go to bed. I do think it helps with my coughing spasms.

  10. Heh, dealers, never thought of that.
    I found your blog through CF2chat, cuz I'm also lucky(!) enough to have this... erm... thing? I suppose thats my x-rated name for it!
    Megan xxx