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Washing It All Out: Embracing a Medication Washout Period

Rinse and repeat was all I could think about. I was nervous about this experience because it meant that I may have a decline in my asthma stability, but it could mean that some side effects I was experiencing may be discontinued.

The plan was that I would discontinue this particular medication combination and then start a new medication. I have been fortunate to have had a stable medication routine for some time.

Medication washout period: My thoughts and feelings

Change is hard and my memory was feeling selective on this process. I had been in touch with my care team and I had received more specifics on the number of weeks that we were going to wait between initiating a "new to me" medication.

It has been some time since I discontinued a drug and "washed it out" and I had forgotten what to expect. It seemed like these times always seemed to collide with a period in which I might already be on a slippery asthma slope. I know the bottom line is all getting to a place of good asthma control with the least amount of side effects possible.

I found myself asking if I needed to wash this drug out of my system. I had experience with clinical trials. Clinical trials tend to be much more regimented, however, a washout can also apply to medication changes and this would be just the case in my circumstance. I would discontinue a medication and then we would wait several weeks before starting a new one.

What would happen during this time?

In the interim, I would have new baseline measurements taken. It was going to be the usual: test spirometry, a sputum induction, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), blood work, and even a CT scan this time.

I remember being a bit shocked when my doctor suggested so many tests. They are very thorough however it was feeling like a lot. Due to scheduling and testing availabilities, I would have to do the scan at a separate time, however, I could do the rest fairly easily at an upcoming appointment.

I was going to be one step closer to a newer treatment regimen that hopefully would get us a bit closer to being well-controlled and having fewer side effects.

Hope for better asthma control

I am grateful that this newer medication may provide me with the ability to be more stable and live my life in the way I would like to. I have been angry that my previous combination was not working the same way and I just could not figure out where the side effects were coming from. It was so frustrating and I considered that I may not ever get back to that sweet spot of being well-controlled.

In a recent discussion with my care team, we discussed the progress that I have made, but also I might be the best that I can get. As a severe asthmatic, I just want to be the best that I can be without managing many side effects.

Have you experienced a washout period? Have you experienced any deterioration in your asthma control?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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