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I just got over bronchitis. I had a blood test and a chest…

I just got over...

I just got over bronchitis. I had a blood test and a chest x-ray which confirmed that I don't have it anymore, although my cough persists. My doctor said that when that happens, it's usually due to the lungs being irritated and is treated by using an inhaler. I want to confirm that and also find out if there's any other treatment because an inhaler costs $186 under my insurance plan.

Doctor's Assistant: Is this a time sensitive issue? What type of specimen are they testing?

Yes, it is time sensitive. They didn't take a specimen; I just got an ordinary blood test.

Doctor's Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?

I had a major heart attack in 1994 and I'm 66 years old.

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Answered in 21 minutes by:
11/17/2017
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19,749
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hello from JustAnswer. This is Dr. Love and I will be glad to assist you today.

Yes, this is correct, although treatment would depend upon the severity of the cough. It can be called by various names, but the name that I use is a post-infectious cough, and it is due to some persistent inflammation of the airways of the lungs after the infection has resolved. Actually, if the cough is mild, there is no need to perform any treatment. The inflammation will typically resolve spontaneously, although it may take up to 8 weeks to do so. However, if the cough is more severe or bothersome, then your doctor is correct that the usual treatment is an inhaled steroid.

A steroid inhaler is the usual preferred treatment, but there are a number of different steroid inhalers that can be used. If the inhaler that your doctor prescribed is $186, then that usually means that it is not considered a preferred drug within this class of medicines. If that is true, then there is usually another steroid inhaler that will be covered, but since the covered inhaler would vary according to each insurance, it is impossible for me to tell you which inhaler to request. You can check with your insurance and ask which steroid inhaler would be covered and then request a prescription for that inhaler from your doctor.

If there is no steroid inhaler that is covered by your insurance, another option that would be far less expensive would be a short course of oral steroids, such as prednisone. This is available as a generic, and can be given as a short burst to get control of lung inflammation. Long-term treatment with oral steroids has a long list of bad side effects, so the doctor will virtually always prefer inhaled steroids to oral steroids for long term use, but a short course has far less side effects. The most common side effects to short term use is GI symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, but it is generally well tolerated.

If I can provide any additional information, please let me know.

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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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