Monday, July 11, 2011

Public Service Announcement

It turns out that Advair Diskus does, in fact, contain medically relevant amounts of milk protein.  Well!  I'm so glad we settled that empirically!  Nothing like some itchy ears and headache to round out the weekend.   Turns out that one should NOT inhale finely powdered substances to which one is severely allergic!

I have calculated: there are no more than 10 micrograms casein per dose.*  However, I have also had bad reactions to eating no more than one milligram of milk protein.  I calculated that, too, from past experience. 

It also turns out that the contraindications-and-interactions database used by most medical practices does not list 'milk' as an ingredient in this medication. (The company includes it, as I said before, at the very bottom of the labelling.)  I would complain, but true dairy allergy is so rare in adults that they'd probably ignore me.

Let me add (though I've probably said it before): it drives me crazy when I say "I'm allergic to milk" and people say "Oh, you're lactose intolerant."  No, that is not what I said.  I said allergic.  Wheezing, coughing, itching, hives.  Nobody gets "Oh, so you hate kitties?" when they say "I'm allergic to cats."  The pharmacist informed me that a lactose-intolerant person would probably need to inhale 3 grams lactose to get a reaction.  That's nice.  ALLERGIC.  Wheezing, coughing, itching, goddamn HIVES, people.

Also, let me add that this same random Giant Chain Pharmacy pharmacist, even though he clearly thought I was off my rocker, called the company three times until he got a real answer, then called me back, then called my doctor's office and got it fixed.  Bless his responsible little heart.

*If I had been willing to stay on the phone with GSK for, oh, forever, I'm sure I could have eventually gotten hold of someone who had the spec sheet for the !@#$ lactose.  (I estimated using this.)  However, it's much like calling bio suppliers: you get a receptionist, then a person who's qualified to answer the equivalent of "I can't find the RETURN key!", then two people reading off same spec sheet you're already holding, then someone in the wrong department, then put on hold for ten minutes, and then, maybe, a half-hour later, a competent tech. 


  1. Anonymous2:43 PM

    "it drives me crazy when I say "I'm allergic to milk" and people say "Oh, you're lactose intolerant." No, that is not what I said. I said allergic"
    story of my life...

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    was in choir with a girl who was severely allergic to milk (emergency room visit over the smallest amount) and no, people just didn't get it (extra horrible for her on choir tour because half the churches that fed us, it was the women who cooked and let the men serve the food, so they had no clue what was in anything - I felt so horrible for her - that was even worse than all the churches that thought having salad along with lasagna was enough of a vegetarian option for our vegetarian choir members too, which was bad enough!)

    Of course that happens with some other allergies too - realtors never got that my mother could not possibly look at a house that had EVER had a cat in it, much less one currently (lots of owners hiding their cats and claiming they don't have one - yeah right - my mother is allergic enough she can tell in less than 5 minutes because she's likely to have an asthma attack within 10 to 15 minutes!)

    I think it's everyone that claims to have an allergy who doesn't that causes all the problems for real allergies...

  3. Anonymous12:14 PM

    My son is moderately allergic to dairy (among other things). And I have had the same conversation with my mother-in-law at least half a dozen times.

    It goes something like this: I mention that elder son cannot have X because of dairy. She says, "Oh, he gets that from us! My whole family is lactose intolerant."

    Me: "Actually, this is different, his body is reacting to the protein in the milk."

    Her: "Oh, ok."

    Then repeat, nearly verbatim, 2 weeks later. We did this, as I said, about half a dozen which point I gave up responding.


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