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My two year old daughter has asthma that seems to be triggered by respiratory infections. She has been in the Emergency Room two times in two months with rapid/noisy breathing that required hour-long albuterol treatments and oral prednisone. A specialist has recommended we give her Pulmicort once a day throughout the winter. Beyond the common side effects of dry mouth and thrush, I am hearing rumors that Pulmicort can cause strange behavioral side effects in children. (irritability, mood swings, and mania) I would like to try the Pulmicort-I don't want her to end up in the ER every time she gets a runny nose this winter. I realize albuterol and oral prednisone have serious side effects, too. Any advice? Any stories? Thanks!
The first thing I would suggest is allergy testing to see if her trigger can be determined. I too thought my daughters asthma was caused by the common cold that all children love to share since that was the only time she had a flare. Turned out to be an allergy to dust mites that just worsened when she had a cold. Anyway, we had the allergy testing done and immediately minimized her exposure as much as possible to the mites and put her on pulmicort at the same time. She has been on the nebulizer and now the flexhaler with no noticeable side effects whatsoever. She also has not had an asthma flare in months, and they used to occur weekly. I was very frightened about starting the pulmicort, but I can't tell you what a relief it is to hear her breathing normally again without the weekly trips to the Dr or ER. She often did not respond well or at all to albuterol and would end up in the ER.

I haven't heard about behavioral problems associated with pulmicort prior to your post, but I have not noticed any changes in my daughter except that she is much more active now that she can breath easier. That's a good thing.

Hope your little one is doing better!
My son is two also and was diagnosed with asthma about two months ago, although his first attack was back in june. He gets it when he's sick or running too much and has bad allergies to dogs/cats, anything outdoors, basically anything living (although we haven't done testing yet, he'll get rashes, etc.) We started pulmicort a few months back at the same time we started singulair. He has been more extreme in his the littlest thing will set him off and he'll throw hour long screaming fits. Very difficult and I don't know if it's the singulair or pulmicort. The albuterol makes him very hyper, but not moody and when he was on albuterol, pulmicort AND prednisone he was a maniac!!! Anyway, I would try the just with a cold treatment and see how that goes for you. In the long run attitude changes are difficult, but better than a severe attack. Good luck!!!
Our 19 month old son has been on pulmicort for about 6 months. We give it to him twice a day with no side effects. The 2 asthma attacks he had previous to this landed us in the emergency room for breathing treatments of albuterol every 3 hours. A couple of days ago, he was having a dry cough and labored breathing at daycare. My wife rushed him to the emergency room where his breathing was clerened up by Xopenex (albuterol I believe) and we are continuing to administer Xopopnex every 3 to 4 hours and we have an oral steroid which he is on for the second day. His breathing is getting better, but he still appeatrs to need the albuterol. He hasn't had much of the oral steroid, but we'll see the side effects if he has any. Our son, Colton, has asthma, is prone to febrile seizures and multiple food allergies (dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts). I'm not that big of a fan of overmedicating, but what are you going to do in this cuircumstance, right?

Good luck and thank you to everyone out there posting information.
Thank you for the tip SheaUSMC. That web site scared me a little bit! My daughter certainly changed when we gave her the Pulmicort twice a day while she had a cold. For the past seven days we have given it to her once a day, and she has been normal. I still feel overwhelmed by this decision. Is her asthma serious enough to warrant a daily medication? I worry about giving it to her, and I worry about not giving it to her! She has gotten so good at using the nebulizer, though. I wonder if her two attacks last fall were so serious because we couldn't give her the albuterol effectively at home. She screamed and thrashed and barely got any into her lungs! I never thought I'd be such an indecisive parent!
You are right about the personal stories. I have to remind myself that these people have all kinds of health histories and other variables that need to be taken into account! Could I trouble you to explain what you meant about the nebulizer comment? Do you think that using a nebulizer is better for rescue meds than for daily steroid delivery? Our specialist implied that because my daughter is two, a nebulizer is the only effective way to administer the Albuterol or the Pulmicort. We have an inhaler with a spacer for emergencies on the go, but we have never tried it.
I haven't read the other posts, but here's my story. The same thing happened with my two year old. He was finally put on Pulmicort which has helped TREMENDOUSLY. His most recent cold I did not have to use any albuterol or prednisone, thank God!! The only thing is that at first they had him on the 50mg. of Pulmicort once a day and he was a maniac...much like the behavior he had when on the Prednisone...highly emotional, hour long screaming fits, nothing could calm him down. The new allergist lowered him to 25mg once a day and immediately he went back to being his normal fun loving self. So, I would deffinitly give it a try, but know that dosages may have to be adjusted (obviously depending on how well your child does breathing). We have barely had to use albuterol (which makes him crazy hyper) since being on pulmicort for about 3 months. Before Pulmicort, he was having several attacks weekly, and every time he got sick it would be a week of breathing trouble.
I know how encredibly difficult the decision is, but I think it's worth a try!!
About the nebulizer...our specialists agreed that it is the most effective way to get the medicine in. I feel better using it, because I KNOW that the medicine is getting into his lungs. We have our child on a routine where he watches a special video and takes his "fishy" medicine through the nebulizer. We do Pulmicort daily, and if ever needed, the albuterol through the nebulizer. Of course you would want to carry your inhaler everywhere for on the go and they do have a liquid form of albuterol "just in case" you're on the go and are not sure if the inhaler worked properly for the child...albeit, the liquid form amplifies side effects (hyperness for us), but I'd rather have that than not breathing!
My son is 3 and he was diagnosed with asthma a little over a month ago due to his chronic/seasonal cough. The pediatritian prescribed the nebulizer twice daily with the Albuterol and Pulmicort combination but I don't recall her giving us a time frame with it. Shortly after the diagnosis, we took him to the ER for high fever, coughing and other server cold simptoms. He had early pneumonia, so we continued the nebulizer plus the antibiotics for 2 weeks then stopped. He was fine until 2 weeks later he had the same simptoms, but this time he had full blown pneumonia. Again we've been doing the nebulizer plus antibiotic and we are nearing the end of the second week. He seems back to normal and I really want to discontinue the nebulizer because I'm not even confident of the initial asthma diagnosis and I don't think he needs to be on this medication daily if he is not sick. Due to an insurance change, we currently don't see his previous pediatritian nor have we found a good one that accepts the new insurance. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks so much!

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