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Treatment of Late-Onset Asthma

If you were in good health and suddenly developed coughing and wheezing and you went to your doctor, the odds are overwhelming that you would be diagnosed with an infection called bronchitis and be given antibiotics. However, if the antibiotics did not clear up your cough in a week or two, your doctor would then probably diagnose late-onset asthma, tell you that you are allergic and send you to an allergist.

Your allergist or chest specialist would then prescribe either cortisone pills or inhalers and you would get better, but you would not be cured, and the odds are that you would spend the rest of your life with an incurable disease called late-onset asthma. Chances are that, over time, your asthma would worsen and you would end taking cortisone-type pills and probably die prematurely with your disease.

Late-onset asthma is usually not caused by allergies and cannot be improved by taking allergy shots. Richard Martin of the National Jewish Hospital in Denver reports that he has successfully treated symptoms in people diagnosed with late-onset asthma and who grew mycoplasma or chlamydia out of their lungs. This is very exciting, because until recently, asthma that develops after puberty has been considered an incurable disease. Fifty-five subjects with chronic, stable asthma had PCR cultures for chlamydia and mycoplasma. 31 out of the 55 grew chlamydia and mycoplasma from their lungs and these people were treated with clarithromycin, 500 twice a day for 6 weeks. The vast majority improved by every measured variable (1).

Several years ago, David Hahn of the University of Wisconsin reported that he cured several patients with late-onset asthma by giving them Biaxin, Zithromax or doxycycline antibiotics. He was treated as a nut by the medical community. At that time, I started treating my patients with late-onset asthma with antibiotics and noted that I was curing several of them. I then received a nasty letter from an officer of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, telling me essentially that I was guilty of malpractice when I prescribed antibiotics and was curing late-onset asthma; and that he was going to have me censured by the ethics committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. This shows how difficult it is to get doctors to learn about medical breakthroughs and then to get them to use this information to help their patients.

It took most doctors more than 15 years after the discovery of helicobacter to start treating stomach ulcers with antibiotics. Think of how many people have died of bleeding ulcers and stomach cancer only because of their physician's intransigence or unwillingness to accept new information. According to these studies, at least some cases of late-onset asthma should be treated with antibiotics, but most doctors have never heard of this research. See Late-Onset Asthma.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae in asthma - Effect of clarithromycin. Chest, 2002, Vol 121, Iss 6, pp 1782-1788. M Kraft, GH Cassell, J Pak, RJ Martin. Martin RJ, Natl Jewish Med & Res Ctr, Dept Med, 1400 Jackson St, Room J115, Denver,CO 80206 USA

Checked 3/23/17

March 1st, 2014
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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