Why I Quit My Asthma Medication

We Americans love our drugs. Be they over-the-counter or prescription, we pop pills constantly, filling our bodies with chemical brews in hope of alleviating what ails us. At age 24 I decided to cease the last of my asthma medications, albuterol and Singulair, and become pharm-free. While this is, of course, not an option for many users of prescription drugs, I found that I prefer handling my exercise-induced asthma naturally instead of through the use of inhaled or ingested medication.

A doctor once told me that I could build up a tolerance of running, though at the time I was skeptical. I was a teenager and hated running. I could only run a little bit before my airways began to close up. By the time I was sixteen I had had several major asthma attacks. When I began running for exercise as a teen I loathed any suggestion that I try to run for longer distances. I could make perhaps a third of a mile before my asthma symptoms began to kick in.

After my sophomore year of college, by which time I was a regular runner, my asthma symptoms began to decrease. By the time I was 24 I was still taking albuterol before every run…but one day decided to abstain from the stuff.

And I did just fine.

I never went back. I was no longer on any medication, over-the-counter or prescription. The only tablet I took was a daily multivitamin.

Two years later I have no ill-effects from ceasing asthma medication, though a brisk run on a cold day will still restrict my airways.

I put up with the occasional tightness in my chest and the sniffles in my nose because I prefer them to a taking a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals.

According to researchers today, Americans are on more drugs than ever before. Pregnant women are taking record-amounts of medication, and children and seniors are also consuming more prescriptions than ever before. We all have allergies, asthma, ADHD, pain, etc. We all want a pill for what ails us. And it seems normal, doesn’t it?

As a child and teenager I did not mind all the medications. Not until I was older did I suddenly have the desire to quit taking all medication entirely. Fortunately, it worked for me. I know it will not work for everyone, or even most people.

I feel better being off medication, more in control of my life. My performance is up to me, not some concoction of chemicals. I prefer the occasional sniffle to popping an antihistamine pill that may have a whole slew of unintended side-effects. With a chemical-free body I don’t have to worry about strange or unexpected mixtures creating harmful reactions or worrisome behaviors.

So if you have some summer allergy sniffles, consider reaching for a box of tissues before calling the doc for a potent prescription – if you have the option, I’m sure you’ll feel better in the long run.

DISCLAIMER: I am not one of those anti-medication radicals…if I need medication, I will take it. I get an annual flu shot and am a firm believer in vaccinations and prompt medical care.





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