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TL/DR: I'm an asthmatic and have been vegan for half my life. I recently discovered my medicines contain a milk protein. I'm upset with myself and ashamed.

I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 5 and back then I would occasionally get asthma attacks so it was pretty serious. By the time I was 25 my asthma was more controlled so I was given different medication - Advair Diskus and Singulair. I stayed on those for ten years, up until two weeks ago, when my doctor discovered my asthma was under even more control. He changed my medicine again, this time to FloVent. And I should mention I've been vegan since 18 (I'm now 35).

For two weeks I haven't taken the Advair, by my doctors orders, while I waited for the FloVent to come in. And I felt fine without it. Then the FloVent came and right on the box it listed Lactose Monohydrate as an ingredient. Now, I'm familiar with that ingredient because when I was shopping for a new seasonal allergy med it was in most things.

My doctor knows I'm vegan and he himself is vegetarian so I was pretty upset when I saw this med he prescribed had a milk ingredient. Then I looked up Advair -- same manufacturer as FloVent, same lactose monohydrate ingredient. Oh and Singulair has the same ingredient as well.

So basically I had been consuming milk, unbeknownst to me, for at least ten years. I felt like I got punched in the face and I started tearing up. Just the thought of all those cows in all those factory farms, their utters hooked up to tubes, their bodies tricked into pregnancy to force milking. They are sexually assaulted and abused so people can put their milk on their Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And now the realization that I was a part of this - that without my knowledge, I have been contributing to their suffering. It was just too much for to handle at that moment.

***NOTE: its already hard enough for me to deal with the fact that these medicines are tested on animals. Not a second goes by when I'm not thinking about how some animal in a laboratory is getting forced to take my asthma med to see potential side effects. And it upsets me so much but I've been led to believe for so long that I need these meds.

I guess I'm writing to let people know to check their meds' ingredients but mostly to vent. I don't know why I never checked earlier. I feel so stupid and ashamed.

I called my doctor to see if there's something else I can be switched to and I'm waiting to hear back from a nurse. But at this point, I really feel like I want to stop taking anything though. I feel fine. I'm able to run a couple miles every day and I haven't had an asthma attack since I was a kid.

I have to keep telling myself that we learn from our mistakes. I just wish I learned the truth sooner.

Have a great day everybody.

- Jason

Responses (3)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Liberty at 03/07/18 23:45:32

    Hi Jason,

    I just came across your post after searching for two weeks to find Advair, Singulair, and Zyrtec that have non-lactose alternatives. I finally committed to 100% vegan for 2018 after many years of slowly eliminating meat. I have lifelong asthma and allergies to dairy and eggs. I thought that I was almost there with each new product that I replace with a cruelty-free version, but now feel at a loss with this one.

    I first discovered I am allergic to my Advair and my dr. said to keep using for now and to bring my insurance list of approved medications with me to next appointment. Well, every single one of them and my birth control pills have lactose. It may be that it is the casein in dairy that I am allergic too, not the lactose, but it may be that I am giving myself small doses of an allergen and an ingredient I don't believe in just to in turn treat it with meds.

    I understand your frustrations and hope you no longer feel ashamed. It is the pharmaceutical companies that should be ashamed. It is too bad that it is this difficult to have an alternative to cruelty just to be able to breathe. I can't really blame my doc either, as he has been supportive of me becoming vegan and was kind of surprised that an allergy med contained lactose. Btw, I haven't been able to get immunizations because of the egg allergy. No one seems to care about the lactose one.

    So I have decisions to make and more research ahead. I hope you keep us all posted on your own research. It made me feel less alone to read your blog--so thank you.


  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Mountainmystic at 03/08/18 15:28:03

    You might think about trying herbal medicines. Look up Hannah's Herb Shop. There are herbs and vibropathic meds that help. I dont take pharmaceutical medicines, except in rare life saving instances or in an emergency. A friend of mine has COPD, chronic bronchitis and he takes herbs for lung function. He hardly has to use an inhaler anymore. Also, he also found and takes a salmon DNA derived liquid. That has turned him to being 50 percent better. Doctors don't know what to say. Can't say anything about endorsing herbal meds. I wouldn't take anything with fish in it either. Just pointing out other non pharma info. Best of health to you all. Do what works for you.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by h_o_rng at 03/08/18 17:37:40

    Vegan, minimalism, eco only, fair trade etc... Decreases the biostrain on your body.

    A chronic disease/suffering means a need to change something "passive" in your life.

    This may be passively switching between small sufferings as well.

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