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A Near Fatal Asthma Attack Possibly Caused by Serevent

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Salem, MSMary is asthmatic. She had been taking Serevent for about 18 months when she had a near-fatal acute asthma attack. Her regular inhaler didn't help, where normally it would have. She started losing her breath, and her ability to speak. Her husband called 911 and she was rushed to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.

"I remember waking up in the hospital, and finding that I couldn't speak at all," Mary said. "The doctors had intubated me. But I could hear. And I remember hearing the doctor present at the time say 'she's using Serevent and there have been studies showing that Serevent is linked to asthma death'.

Asthma Victim"I was in intensive care for three hours. When I finally came around they explained what had happened to me. On my hospital chart they had put 'near fatal asthma attack.' But they didn't put anything in writing about Serevent. The doctor that I had overheard in the emergency room had made a verbal guess. But I was in the hospital for three days and had the opportunity to ask him about it. He said that while he couldn't remember exactly, given what I had described, and the medication I was on, it's very likely my acute attack was Serevent-related."

Mary was just 44 years old when this happened. She had been asthmatic for some time, but this was her first and last, near fatal asthma attack while on Serevent . "I discontinued using Serevent at that time," Mary said. "I had been using it twice a day as maintenance inhaler medication, and nothing had happened while I was using it. This attack was quite sudden.

My asthma is controlled now. I'm actually taking another drug which has the same ingredient as Serevent. But I'm on a very small amount of it. I am nervous about it though. So I don't use it every day, but every other day instead. And my doctor knows that. As long as my asthma is managed, and it is."

In the long run, Mary's near fatal asthma attack has had a positive effect. "I became very fearful of asthma medications, and I started asking a lot more questions about the medications," she said. "And, I started using my medications at the minimum required dose, with my doctor's guidance, of course. I became very careful, because what I went through was actually quite a frightening experience. Particularly for my husband, he thought I was gone. For years he was very upset about it."

"I nearly died, and it happened out of the blue," said Mary. "I thought I was having a regular asthma attack, but I couldn't recover from it." Mary is happy to tell her story if it will help warn others of the potentially fatal effects of this asthma medication.

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