As of December 31, 2008, you will not longer be able to purchase chlorofluorocarbons propelled albuterol inhalers as a result of the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This type of product is used to treat people who suffer from bronchospams (wheezing) from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
“Although chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in medicines are safe for patients to inhale, they are harmful to the environment. CFCs reduce the amount of ozone in the ozone layer that surrounds the earth and protects the earth against the sun’s harmful rays. The loss of ozone can increase the risk of skin cancer, cataracts, and otherhealth problems. Replacing the CFCs in your metereddoseinhaler with another substance, called HFA, will make the environment safer for everyone,” according to the FDA.
The FDA is urging people to switch to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers, in which three products have been approved: Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol, Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol, and Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol.
In addition, to the ones listed above, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, a medicine similar to albuterol, has also been approved and is available as Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol.
The agency forewarns that the use of the new inhalers will be different than that of the old CFC-propelled inhalers since the spray will be softer and the taste may be different. In addition, patients must prime and clean these new HFA- propelled albuterol inhalers to prevent any build up of the drug in the inhaleration device.
The American Lung Association advises that patients should switch to the new HFA-propelled inhalers now to see which one works best for them prior to the deadline. You will need your doctor to write a new prescription for these inhalers.
According to American Lung Association, there may be a significant different in price between the new and old inhalers especially if you are using a generic inhaler. The HFA inhaler costs $30 to $60; whereas, the generic inhaler costs $5 to $25.
“Depending on your insurance, these new inhalers may be more expensive, but our hope is that as more people move to the CFC-free delivery method that the price will come down,” says Norman H. Edelman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association,” as stated in an Associations’ written article.
If you have questions as to the transition from one inhaler to another or need assistance in paying for your prescription, you can call the American Lung Association Helpline at 1-800-LUNG-USA, and press “2” to speak to a nurse or respiratory therapist. They may even have a coupon to help you pay for the new inhalers.
So, with these new inhalers, your puff will not only be good for you, but Mother Earth’s lungs as well.
Photo by permission of KellyK
FDA Advises Patients to Switch to HFA-Propelled Albuterol Inhalers Now, FDA News, May 30, 2008 (accessed July 17, 2008).
CFC-Free Inhalers: Time to Make the Switch, American Lung Association (accessed July 17, 2008).
Please review your last sentence. 😉
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Green Talk says
Hyla, you are hired! Thanks for catching my last sentence. Readers, Hyla pointed out my last sentence did not make much sense. (I have corrected it.) Everyone, always feel comfortable to tell me via comment or contact me. Sometimes, my brain works faster than my fingers. Anna
HA! Why do those who can’t breath have to suffer when no one stops what really is hurting mother earth.
I can not use any other inhaler besides Xopenex HFA as the other ones have sulfate in it that makes me want to throw up and cough far worse then my asthma attack was doing. So no its not better for me, far worse. And Xopenex does not work nearly as well as the cheap one we used to be able to get.
Xopenex seems to keep going up in price. When I first had to get it, I paid $55 for it, the insurance paid for $1. Wow, a buck. Oooo. So, the next time I go get it, yay for the insurance as it was only $35 this time, but wait, Xopenex had jacked up their price. It was up to $60 and I just bought on the other day because the old one was no longer working as well. The price is now $70, with insurance I had to pay $48. And I will lose my insurance as I’m not going to school anymore. How the hell can a person avoid a $70 inhaler, without it will end up going to the ER, that would be far more pricy. I got loans to pay back here pretty soon and I’m still looking for a job.
Thank you so much for taking away my cheap $8 inhaler for the planet instead of stopping the things that hurt it far more then what helps people to breath. And gee if the planet was cleaner, many of us wouldn’t have these problems. My major set off is smokers. They ruined my health.
BEFORE they decided to take away the cheap one, they should have made sure they had an off brand ready for the low in come people.
Hazel Owens says
It’s interesting that even the gases in inhalers are being changed to fit new environmentally-friendly standards. I hope that the new aerosols will be as effective as the old kind. I would follow the tip by the American Lung Association to get a prescription from your doctor and switch to the new inhalers to make sure there aren’t problems. Thanks for the information.