Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: New Asthma and Allergy Ideas Presented in New York

Category: Lagniappe - a little extra



A sixth asthma medicine discussed at the American Academy of Allergy in conference recently was a patch medicine called Tulobuterol. It was used in a 1 or 2 mg patch at bedtime on six asthmatic boys at the National Children's Hospital in Aspen. This long-acting bronchodilator by patch allowed the boys to eliminate
their morning dips in pulmonary function. It stopped the break-through asthma attacks which had been occurring early every morning. Tolobuterol is another possible future medicine to enable us to better control all of the tricky asthma cases in our society. Most of this work was done by Japanese doctors where this medicine
has been used extensively in the past few years. The Lead studies were done at the National Children's Hospital in Tokyo, Japan.

Other interesting papers presented at the New York conference and at most of the allergy conferences in the past few years concerned latex allergy. This is a very rapidly growing medical problem. It can affect all medical care workers who are exposed to latex gloves. It is also very common in patients with spinal cord injuries such as paraplegics and children with meningomyeloceles. 
Studies presented indicate a cluster reactivity to the protein antigens of latex and several foods including bananas, avocados, pears, potatoes, tomatoes, papaya, carrots, melons, and chestnuts.

In other words, patients with latex allergy from work exposure may have an allergic reaction when eating the above fruits. This interesting rapidly expanding allergy problem will certainly be with us in a big way in the decade of the 90s until we find a safe way to skin-test for it and treat it. At the present time, the only research protocols available are at major medical centers. 

Personally I think we should all stop using latex gloves and use alternative non-lates products. This change is more expensive so the latex allergy problem will probably just get worse over the next few years.