Asthma Patients Must Switch Inhalers

June 03, 2008 08:24 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
In an effort to help the environment, U.S. health officials are phasing out asthma inhalers that contain ozone-depleting CFCs.

30-Second Summary

By the end of 2008, asthma patients who use inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) will be relying on something more environmentally friendly.

The CFCs in current inhalers help propel the medicine that relaxes airways during an asthma attack into the lungs. However, CFCs are harmful to the environment, particularly the earth’s ozone layer.

As a result, U.S. health officials are mandating a change to inhalers powered by hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs), which won’t hurt the ozone.

This change has been coming for several years, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reminded patients that CFC inhalers will be discontinued soon.
The organization wants asthma patients to speak to their physicians now about finding an alternative for their current inhalers. HFA inhalers will likely taste and feel different when used; they must also be primed and cleaned differently, so there will be a bit of a “learning curve.”
Despite the fact that the medication has some differences, the FDA said it wanted “to emphasize that HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers.

According to Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, director of the FDA’s Division of Pulmonary and Allergy Products, approximately 65 percent of inhaler users are already using HFA-propelled products.

Headline Links: New asthma inhalers

Reactions: Effectiveness of HFA inhalers

Reference: Asthma resources


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