Monday, September 19, 2016

Finding Savannah: Healing Children from A Prescription Drug - Singulair/Montelukast

The Headlines:

My daughter took Singulair (generic is Montelukast). 

It had devastating effects that seemed to linger.

Here's how we mended her...

You can do it too!

Life is precious.  Many of us don't even realize it.  We go about our daily business.  Things are great.  Until they're not.

That's where I was in my family almost 2 years ago.  I wrote the full story last year... you can read about it HERE.  I'll warn you, it's not pretty.  I basically gave my daughter a pill (Singulair/Montelukast) to aid with her asthma and it ended up slowly suffocating the life out of her.  Not literally, obviously, but very figuratively.  I nominated myself for BAD MOM of the YEAR Award.  Since then, it's been a long, windy road but she's almost back.

As I start this post I want to reiterate I'm not a doctor.  I'm simply a Mom with a daughter.  A daughter who had an illness that became a huge problem.  A daughter who was prescribed a little pink pill to conquer a sickness that ended up making her a shell of the person she used to be.  Arguably, worse off than she was without it.  I also want to make it clear if you have a child or know any person who is taking the drug Singular/Montelukast - be aware - go in with your eyes wide open.  Because the problems that come with these drugs may hit you on the head like a tidal wave OR they could sneak up out of no where and knock you out cold.  Finally, I want to attribute much of our success in this healing process to a Facebook Support Group which you can find HERE dedicated to helping individuals get their lives back after having them stolen by this horrible drug.  It is to them, the administrators and the contributors, that we owe everything.

Once Upon A time

It was years ago when my then 3 year old little girl got a persistent cough that wouldn't go away.  She went to the ER right before her OWN Birthday Party for it, was admitted to the doctor multiple times for it and as a new Mom I was scared by it.

Fairly quickly, we were given several choices by her pediatrician on how to handle this scary cough.  I picked the one I thought easiest and most effective.  A pill she could take daily called Singulair/Montelukast.  Because she, at first, took it very sporadically (only when she'd have coughing "fits")  I never attributed her change in behavior to the pill.  But as the years went by, she took the pill more and the dosage went up.  As time went on, she was showing signs of anxiety, depression, OCD, she was unable to focus, always in a fog, she couldn't remember things, she was crying a lot and completely irrational.  My daughter was also having physical problems.  She was shaking and had sleeping and stomach issues.  She had (and still deals with) an occasional bloody nose and there are reports that Singulair/Montelukast can exacerbate that as well.  Bottom line, after a few years - my little girl was no where to be found.  I was unaware but while the pill my daughter took had gotten rid of her cough it simultaneously, completely, messed with her brain.

I was lost and confused.  She was more lost and confused.  My husband and I couldn't figure out where the change came from.  Was she going through her hormonal years early?  Until one day after a horribly emotional Brownie camping trip, followed by an old fashioned cold (see OTC avoidance below) - did it hit me (it helped that, on this day, she said,  "I often feel like crying for no reason.")  My God - it was the Singulair/Montelukast.  I yanked her off of it.  **Though that is controversial - see below.  I now wish I would have tapered her.  But for me, at that moment, I just needed to get it out of her body.

Life After Singulair/Montelukast 

The change was noticeable.  My little girl was in there again.  I ran to the doctor because I was scared of what was to come.  I was sure her asthma cough would come roaring back.  I was wrong.  Perhaps she grew out of it at that exact same time but I tend to believe the Himalayan Salt Lamp had something to do with her good luck.  I wrote that story HERE... I think it could be part of a Natural Asthma Cure.

But as I continued to rejoice at our good fortune... over the next year and a half I noticed she had a tendency to go into what I called the "Singulair Slump."  She would, for a time, go back into this very dark place as if she was on the pill again.  I didn't understand why.  So I began to pay closer attention.  I noticed pretty quickly it was after she would come home from a sleep over or after I gave her an over the counter (OTC) drug of some sort.  Like a cold or an allergy medicine.  But other times it would happen out of no where.  It was odd, because on the one hand she was thriving - on the other she was struggling.

That's when I, once again, reached out to the amazing people at that Facebook page I told you about above... I asked them if anyone else had experienced this "Singulair Slump"?  The answer was a resounding YES.

Singulair/Montelukast Residual Effects

Now fasten your seat belts folks cause what follows is a lot of information.  Information which some may call complete crap or total voo-doo.  That's up to you to decide.  But from where I sit... it's our very real and true story.

There's talk that due to the nature of the drug sometimes there can be residual effects that are triggered by certain things.  See, Singulair/Montelukast works by changing the neurotransmitters in the brain and therefore can completely alter the messaging system there.  Read THIS ARTICLE  to understand that.  Because of that, it can throw some immune systems into over drive (term used is overactive immune system) making the patient more susceptible to ailments, including but not limited to, something called "leaky gut" syndrome.  That's when the digestive lining in your tract can become compromised and cause toxins to leak out into the body which in turn leads to depression, bloating, sleeplessness and brain fog.  Watch more about"Leaky Gut Syndrome" in THIS VIDEO from Dr. Oz... it's a real thing guys!  

So the goal after getting off Singulair/Montelukast then becomes repairing the damage that seems to be left behind from the drug.  Think of it as a deep bruise on the brain/body that needs some time and HELP to heal.  There are natural things we can take and artificial things we should avoid that can aid us in recovery.

This is pretty simple.  It's stuff normal healthy adults and children shouldn't have in their diet.  It's just in this case, it's truly imperative for the daily health and well being of prior Singulair/Montelukast patients.
  • Aspartame 
  • MSG
  • Preservatives (also contained in some flu shots)
  • Artificial colors/flavors
  • OTC medications: specifically (but not limited to) ALLERGY MEDS & cold meds
  • Fluoride treatments (tho to be honest she does these occasionally at dentist)
  • inhaled corticosteroids (like Pulmicort or Flovent )
  • lack of sleep

It's called by some the "Threshold Theory."  When a past Singulair/Montelukast patient goes over this certain threshold with one of the items above - it throws them right back into the "Singulair Slump."

This is not as simple.  There's lots to do here.  But if you think about it, it all makes sense.  Essentially you need to repair what was damaged in the body by the drug.  Depending upon how much damage was done... you may need to do a lot.

**Discalimer - This is what we've tried and what has worked for us.  I'm not a professional nutritionist or doctor.  This is simply trial and error.  But because everything on the following list is natural and rather well studied I feel confident there aren't too many wrong turns a person can take.

  • Fish Oil - is brain food.  It can help repair what's been damaged.  Watch THIS VIDEO for more on that
  • D3 
  • Tumeric - in a powder form (but not just the cooking spice) with black pepper in it.  It too helps brain function.  It's now being used to combat Alzheimers.
  • Magnesium Transdermal Spray - (not pictured) is a healing agent which helps in the proper functioning of the cells in your body.  Read THIS ARTICLE for more information.  
  • Quercitin - is an anti-oxidant and natural anti-inflammatory so it works as a natural anti-histamine.  It will aid recovery in both the brain and body.  THIS ARTICLE should help explain more. 
  • B-12
  • Organic foods  - Lots of leafy greens, apples, coconut oil, parsley, non-histamine foods - some choose to follow a completely non-histamine diet.  We do not.
  • Probiotic - to help fix any "Leaky Gut" issues caused by the pink pill.
  • Gaba - is a neurotransmitter that is natural occurring in all brains.  But some of us have a Gaba deficiency (often found in autistic & ADHD kids).  As mentioned earlier, due to the intake of Singulair/Montelukast, some neurotransmitters in a patients brain are interrupted and impaired.  If Gaba is low in a system - it can throw a person into a tailspin.  See THIS ARTICLE .  There are supplements to take like Gaba Calm, but Gaba can also increase on its own when using other vitamins/minerals or by practicing...
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture 
My daughter has tried or is using all the above except for meditation, acupuncture or Gaba at this point.

Getting Your Child Back 

As you do all of the things above... you will begin to immediately see a new person.  Or perhaps you'll just get the old one back.  It isn't slow, it's fast.  It's noticeable and it's incredible.  I get emotional every time I think about it.  I'm crying right now writing this.  To see you daughter genuinely smile... is the best gift of all.  She has become a brighter student, a better dancer, a happier friend.  She can laugh when she used to cry.  She can recover when she used to crumble.  She is my baby girl again.  Not for long... childhood goes fast my friends.

But it can still go dark.  I test it.  A few months back, she had some Oreo cookies and a drink with some aspartame in it and the next day, Mother's Day, she got upset: "I'm feeling really left out.  You and Grandma are getting all the attention."  I responded, "that's because it's Mother's Day dear."  She replied, "Well, if it was just you it would be fine but it's both of you and I'm feeling bad."  Me again: "Honey, you're not a Mother."  See, the irrationality quickly crept in.  Or last weekend we had company for 2 nights (she got no sleep)... the day the company left she was mopey all day.  She just goes into a shell.  I know what you're thinking but it's beyond what normal kids do.  It's the "Singulair Slump" - it comes roaring back.  But the good news is, after vitamins and just one solid night of sleep - we get her back again.  It's a bit of a roller-coaster ride but I'll take it.

I look forward to the day that she can stay up late and not have to worry about how or if it will effect her mood.  I hope and pray that day comes.  I can only imagine college life being incredibly difficult (with late night studying and an occasional party) - I don't want her to suffer any more than she already has... but how long she will be in "recovery" remains to be seen.

**Taper or Cold Turkey?

Because of that fear, how long she'll be in "recovery," I recommend tapering your child off Singulair/Montelukast.  Don't chance it.  It doesn't take long.  Over one week to one and a half weeks,  give them less.  The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, or ISMP, says any medication that causes neuropsychiatric side effects should be tapered off to avoid further damage.  You can read their article HERE.   Also, this is a real life scenario: a woman from the Facebook Singular Support Group had 2 sons on the drug.  One she tapered, the other went cold turkey.  The son who went cold turkey still has some lingering issues, after being off for years.  The other son does not.

Report Adverse Drug Reactions

It's important to continue to get the word out.  My daughter, Savannah, is one of the lucky ones.  She's still here.  It can get bad fast - many people take their lives while on this drug.  Stronger warning labels, more studies, better public awareness is needed in order for our children to get a fair shake.  Singulair/Montelukast stole a part of life from my daughter and I'm raging mad about it.  My only hope is that, with my research and the help of other caring and sensible individuals she'll continue to grow into the person she was always meant to be.  Not the person shoved into her body in the form of a little pill called Singulair.

Read the FDA's Pediatric Safety Review of Singulair/Montelukast ARTICLE HERE and if you'd like to Report the Adverse Effects you've encountered on this drug (or any other for that matter) you can click  HERE or call 1-855-543-3784.

Finally tonight...

I'm not saying pull this drug from the market.  I'm sure there are some people that need Singulair/Montelukast for their daily well being.  Further, there are most likely some children who aren't negatively impacted by it at all.  Then by all means, let them have it.  But do so under close supervision.  Make doctors, patients, families aware of what can potentially happen when you take this drug.  The people who are complaining about adverse reactions aren't lying and they do matter.    Every child matters.

Someone you know needs this information.

According to the CDC, 1 in 12 have asthma today.  More than half of those people are children.  

Many are using or will use Singulair/Montelukast.  So share this information to your friends and family.  Let everyone know of the huge harm that can come from a little pink pill.  Then remind them healing can happen.  You WILL find the person Singulair stole from you as you watched the entire time.  Just like we finally found Savannah...

Epilogue (UPDATE 1-12-18)
It's been a couple years since I published this post.  My daughter has gotten older.  She's 11 and adjusting to "pre-teen" hood.  Lately, she seems more angry and emotional.  I'm blaming this, partially, on hormones.  But I'm also wondering if her past with Singulair is making her more susceptible to an overblown pre-teen experience, if that makes sense.  I also have realized we forgot to put Magnesium Transdermal Spray on her daily.

(Re)Enter the spray.  For the last week, she has smiled and laughed.  She says she feels better.  The spray (among other things) lifts the mood.  Crucial for former Singulair patients.  I say this, because while an extra step, I do believe that spray can be more beneficial than even I was giving it credit for...

Please remember, if your child has taken Singulair/Montelukast that is followed by an adverse reaction... your family will be in recovery mode for years.  It's not a quick process.  It is a long journey with a bumpy road that, with hard work and determination, will eventually lead to a destination unknown.  But I assure you that place will be brighter than the darkness that once surrounded them.

With love,

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