A hand reaching for a bright, new inhaler in a cabinet, ignoring a pile of dusty old meds

For Better Or Worse: Things That Have Changed!

I have lived with asthma for 50 years now. In those years there have been many changes regarding my asthma and asthma in general. Here are things that have changed, for better and worse.

Changes I've noticed throughout my asthma journey: for better and worse

Better: Medicine

By far, this is better for sure. As a kid, most asthma medicines had to be taken 3-4 times every day of your life. And I often had to take 2-3 different inhalers too. Throw in a pill I had to take three times a day. This is a hard recipe for adults to follow, let alone a kid. Today, most asthma medicines only require 1-2 puffs a day, and we have access to combination inhalers, cutting down on the number of puffs required per day. To add to this we also have several biologics to try, adding to the number of options available to help those of us with asthma gain that preferred level of asthma control.

Worse: Insurance

Up until the 2000s, a doctor wrote a prescription and the pharmacy filled said prescription. And, a doctor could write a prescription for one rescue inhaler or three rescue inhalers. This allowed me to get three inhalers a month, something I truly benefited from. Today, insurance companies have put a stop to this practice. Rather than getting three rescue inhalers, I am limited to just one. This assumes that I will never lose my inhaler and need a second one. And it assumes I won’t have a bad asthma month. So, insurance has definitely gotten worse during my lifetime with asthma.

Better: Access to asthma wisdom

I thought doctors knew a lot about asthma when I was a kid. But, that turned out to be a myth. In 1985, my doctor was stumped on how to help me manage my poorly controlled asthma. So he had me admitted to a hospital in Denver that specialized in asthma. This was an asthma research hospital, and doctors there were the best-educated asthma doctors in the world. Today, we have asthma guidelines. And these guidelines are available to all doctors regardless of location. So, regardless of where you live, your doctor should have access to all the wisdom available to help you manage your asthma.

Worse: Prices

One of the biggest complaints of any person with asthma is the exorbitant prices of asthma medicines. This is especially true for newer medicines that are still under patent. One inhaler may cost upwards of $500. A biologic may cost upwards of $1000. This is way too much for many of us to afford. This pretty much makes them unavailable to many of us. Those of us with good health insurance may have access to such medicines for a copay.

Better: Asthma wisdom

So, not only is there better access to wisdom, there is more asthma wisdom in general. This is a testament to how hard researchers are working. On a regular basis, I find myself reading about one or another new asthma discoveries. It's rather impressive. And researchers have taken this wisdom and have made great use of it. For instance, they have created asthma guidelines for doctors as noted above. And they have broken asthma down into different subgroups. And this allows doctors to fine-tune treatment regimens for each individual with asthma, rather than treating all of us the same. So, there's been a significant leap in asthma wisdom, and this is a definite for the better.

Have there been changes, for better or worse, that you have noticed throughout your asthma journey? What were they? Share your experience with the community by clicking the button below.

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