Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A little knowledge

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing:

Where do we start? This gentleman, writing in a respectable British newspaper, has gastrointestinal symptoms and decides to be tested for "food allergy". How many allergies are marked purely by gastro-symptoms? Maybe cow's milk in children.

He then discovers he is not allergic to anything - having been told he could test for wheat by giving it up. He then rants on about "true immune-mediated" allergies, clearly recycling some highly condensed notes and quotes - moving allergy in one stroke from gastro-intestinal symptoms to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Is there nothing in between, Dan? No mention of asthma, eczema, urticaria (hives to you), chronic rhinusitis (that's hay fever) let alone the chronic inflammatory conditions that are so badly diagnosed?

And it all concludes with some nonsense, apparently endorsed by an Allergy UK spokesperson, suggesting that we mostly eat too much wheat and dairy. Try living on bananas, fish and cabbage, I say.

Most of the comments are equally disturbing. Maybe it's just because the British are obsessed with their bowels.

* I was interested to see the main source is the London Allergy Clinic, about which I had heard little previously.  I'm amazed that when the NHS is so short of specialists they have the time to run a presumably lucrative joint private practice. I'd be interested to know if they provide effective on-going care for patients - or simply take fees for diagnosis.


PS My judgement may be a little harsh as originally it was gastro symptoms that alerted me to a possible problem. The second alert was when I started choking on my food. But it took me a while to relate it to a life-time of minor skin problems and the very disturbing ache in my left eye (which puzzled my optician). And I only dared go to the doctor when my tongue and lips started swelling.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Side-effects of Singulair

There's a new side-effect from montelukast reported by the US authorities here. And it's psychiatric. Actually it's not new but for some reason it's just hit the social media.

The range of effects includes "agitation, aggression, anxiousness, dream abnormalities and hallucinations, depression, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, suicidal thinking and behavior (including suicide), and tremor. "

I can't say I had noticed - I was like that (irritable and restless) before I started taking the drug so I will ask members of my family. If these effects exist they are nothing like the side-effects of anti-histamines. I had a relative who went through a period of temporary madness and lost the ability to distinguish between dreams and reality. That was how anti-histamines, taken in high doses regularly, felt. Deep, realistic and frightening dreams.

I wonder if some of those who have reported side-effects have confused them with the effects of anti-histamines which they might well have been taking also.

* In fact I think I'm much calmer now than I was five years ago, perhaps thanks to giving up caffeine. Can I report a beneficial neuro-psychiatric side-effect?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wasp sting

After five years of avoiding them, a wasp got me on the head today. I was at an event so went to the First Aid tent to see if they had any anthisan. They didn't so they stuck an icepack on my head and kept me under observation.

When I got home an hour later I took a montelukast and an antihistamine tablet. I wasn't going to die from it - but a flush had spread across my face, my lips were tingling - as was the back of my hand where the C  made a faint reappearance.

It could have been worse - it could have been a jellyfish.  I've been on holiday and meant to report. I took montelukast daily when I was on holiday - and enjoyed the occasional wine and other dishes that were not strictly "allowed".  And there was plenty of sea and sunshine. I came back and stopped the daily pills and a week later, even prior to the wasp sting, I felt as if I was going down hill fast. Was it the pills - or the sea and sun?