ASK THE DOCTOR: The necessity of taking your meds daily

Why do I need to use my asthma inhaler even when I feel fine?
“If I am not wheezing, then my asthma is well controlled.” I hear this quite often from many of my asthma patients, especially the patients who do not experience frequent flare-ups. But asthma is sneaky — most people feel fine … until they don’t. Most often, asthma is either intermittent or chronic. People with intermittent asthma can do well using a short-acting or “rescue” inhaler to manage symptoms. Those with chronic asthma who tend to have more “flare-ups” need to use a daily maintenance inhaler to reduce airway inflammation, especially during the “high peak” seasons such as spring and fall.
For those with chronic asthma, skipping a daily maintenance inhaler could mean more flare-ups and worsening asthma down the road. Not using a maintenance inhaler daily can also increase your risk of a hospital admission for an acute asthma attack. It is not hard to do. Keep your inhaler next to your toothbrush to remind you to use it and do so every day. Your lungs will thank you for it!
Allene Harrison, NP-C
AbsoluteCARE Medical Center & Pharmacy
Do I have to take antidepressant medication every day for it to be effective?
Yes! Antidepressant medications need to be taken daily to truly be effective. This is primarily because it can take at least a few weeks, even up to four to six weeks, to experience the full clinical effect of antidepressant medications. If you begin to feel better or choose to take the medication on an as-needed basis, they are less likely to be effective. Additionally, it is a best practice to take antidepressants at the same time or close to the same time every day. Like other medications, if you develop a routine by which you take your antidepressant, it’s easier to remember to take them.
Felicia English, LCSW
AbsoluteCARE Medical Center & Pharmacy
Ask The Doctor is a monthly health column where the experts at AbsoluteCARE answer your pressing medical questions. Have a question you want answered? Email it to!