The Mexican asthma cure. Systemic steroids for gullible gringos.


Asthmatic patients from western Canada and the United States have reported that after visits to an asthma clinic in Mexicali, Mexico, they return home substantially improved or cured having received "a bronchodilator medication unavailable in the United States or Canada because of the big drug companies." Analysis of these medications reveals that the most commonly prescribed combination is the glucocorticoid triamcinolone (unscored white tablets) and the antihistamine chlorpheniramine (coated biconvex orange or red tablets). Occasionally benzodiazepines are added to these medications. The patients are assured that the medications which they have been given are free of side effects and specifically, that corticosteroids are not used. Such therapy is dangerous to the patient who not only is unaware of the medications that he or she is taking, but is unlikely to mention this therapy to his or her physician. These patients risk drug interactions, medication side effects, and the possibility of adrenal failure either with a stress to their system or on withdrawal of drug treatment. Patients are also at risk of abandoning safer forms of asthma therapy for the miracle cure. We, too, are partially responsible for these unethical practices by avoiding the use of steroids and undertreating our patients at times, leaving them unnecessarily restricted and eager for any form of relief.

Cite this paper

@article{Rubin1990TheMA, title={The Mexican asthma cure. Systemic steroids for gullible gringos.}, author={Bruce K. Rubin and Donald F Legatt and Robert J. Audette}, journal={Chest}, year={1990}, volume={97 4}, pages={959-61} }