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What is a methylcholine challenge used for, what does it determine, and is it experimental for a 12 year old? Thanks!

Hi Mom!
  Methacholine challenge is an evaluation test that checks for airway hyper-responsiveness (exaggerated reaction: airway spasms/closing, to particles, pollens, smells, exercise, etc.) in a patient. Sometimes while doing lung function testing, when the irritant is not present, the tests show normal. But in a person with reactive airways, doing this test with controlled doses of methacholine, will trigger an attack at levels than normal lungs would not react to. The dose is increased until reaction occurs, thus indicating, based on how high a dose is required, the level of responsiveness, thus making the correct diagnosis.
 Regarding age groups, it is not done on infants nor preschool children, therefore, generally speaking, in kids over the age of 5. It is also not done if the lung function prior to the test is below 60% of normal, or if the patient is unable to do a basic spirometry lung test.
 Hope this helps!

Have a great Mothers Day!




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Marc Rubin, RPh Asthma Educator


I have worked directly with patients as well as caregivers for over 30 years. Have made presentations throughout Illinois educating school nurses as well as the teaching and coaching staff of public schools about asthma, and how they should respond to these students needs. Presented a public education program on asthma through the US Department of Public Health. Specialize in helping guide asthmatic patients to take control of their disease in order to live a near-normal, fully active life.


Practicing pharmacist for 40 years, specializing in asthma and COPD for 12 years. Developed nationwide education to nurses, teachers and athletic coaches regarding asthma and exercise induced bronchospasm. In addition, and closer to home. my daughter has asthma, and my son has exercise induced bronchospasm. In addition, I serve on the boards and committees of a number of asthma organizations: Sports, Exercise and Fitness Committee of AAAAI, Population Health Committee and Sports Medicine Committee of ACAAI, Sports Medicine Committee of the World Allergy Association. Board of Directors of the Chicago Asthma Consortium, Board of Directors of the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, as well as the advisory board of a medical education company, Emmi Solutions. Directly involved in the creation of public education programs for asthma, COPD and diabetes.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology / Sports Medicine Committee, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology / Population Health Committee and Sports Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society. World Allergy Association, Chicago Asthma Consortium / Professional Development Committee, Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, and Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago: Development Committee for AE-C prep class, and presenter.

AAAAI PowerPoint on the new guidelines for EIB (Exercise Induced Bronchospasm), AAAAI Powerpoint on Asthma in School Setting for Teachers and Coaches, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Transition guide for teens with food allergies or asthma going out of the home to live independantly.

BScPharm, RPh, (NAECB Certified asthma educator in 2002), NIPCO Certified Respiratory Care Pharmacist

Past/Present Clients
Emmi Solutions, Chicago Next Level Health, Chicago

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