Patients and parents should create a treatment plan together with their doctor so the patient will be more likely to follow the plan. Below are issues that you should discuss with your/child’s doctor as you create a treatment plan that you feel comfortable following.
- Medicine side effects: Discuss your concerns at the time of the visit. Many refuse INHALED corticosteroid medicine by mistake because of the information about the ORAL form. However, this is the most effective asthma medicine.
- Cost of medicine: Tell the doctor about your/your child’s health insurance/your financial situation so they can prescribe treatment you can afford. You may have a prescription plan that only covers certain medicines. Bring your medicine coverage list to the visit.
- Medicine “style/preferences”: Some do not want to take asthma medicine every day. Others will ONLY take oral or inhaled medicines. Let your/your child’s doctor know what he/she prefers so that the options can be discussed.
- Understand the instructions for care: Before you leave the office, have a WRITTEN asthma instruction plan and a prescription for a peak flow meter. Have the doctor explain how the medicines and peak flow meter work. If you and your child do not understand what to do, you will not be able to treat asthma correctly.
- Support for Care: Many are fortunate to have family members, as well as employers/school workers, who are concerned about your needs of those of your child. If you do not have the support at home/work/school let your doctor know. He/she may want to meet with family members and give them more information about asthma care, or write notes for work or school.
- Anxiety and Depression: Those with persistent asthma can have both anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression can interfere with taking asthma medicine. If you think that you or your child has anxiety or depression, let your doctor know.
- Satisfaction with care: Asthma patients, who do best, work with a doctor they like and trust. The doctor is genuinely interested in your care and communicates well. If this is not your experience, you may want to find a new doctor.
- Quality of life: Medicine therapy has helped most patients who follow an effective treatment plan, live a full and active life. If you/your child is following a treatment plan and still having symptoms, you should see an asthma/allergy specialist. He/she can address your concerns. He/she can also do allergy testing to find the causes of symptoms, which may lead to less medicine. Allergy shots/drops (immunotherapy) may be needed to reduce you/your child’s sensitivity to allergens that he/she cannot avoid (pets, dust mite, mold, cockroach).