Navigation Links
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out

Deadline is Dec. 31, but FDA urges asthma patients to switch to eco-friendly versions now

FRIDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma inhalers that contain the drug albuterol to relax the airways also contain chemicals that harm the ozone layer. And these inhalers won't be available after this year, so U.S. health officials are urging patients to switch to alternative inhalers now.

Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are widely used to propel inhaled drugs into the lungs. However, products containing CFCs are being phased out, because the chemicals damage the Earth's protective ozone layer. CFC inhalers are being replaced by inhalers powered by HFAs, or hydrofluoroalkanes, which are ozone-friendly.

The change to HFA-powered inhalers has been in the works for several years, but the FDA issued an advisory on Friday, urging patients still using CFC inhalers to switch now. Inhalers containing CFCs will not be available after Dec. 31.

FDA officials said people with respiratory problems, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, may need some time to acclimate to HFA-based inhalers.

"There are 52 million prescriptions written for albuterol inhalers each year in the United States," Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Division of Pulmonary and Allergy Products, said during a teleconference. Albuterol is used to treat shortness of breath in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he noted.

Chowdhury said that approximately 65 percent of inhaler users have already switched to HFA inhalers.

"These new handlers may taste and feel different than the current CFC inhalers," he said. "In addition, HFA inhalers may feel softer than CFC inhalers."

Also, patients using HFA inhalers will have to prime and clean them to prevent the buildup of albuterol in the inhalers' nozzle. This buildup could block the medicine from reaching the lungs, Chowdhury said.

Each HFA inhaler has a different priming mechanism and cleaning and drying instructions. So, users should carefully read the instructions before using the inhaler. And HFA inhalers may cost more, because there's no generic HFA inhaler available yet, Chowdhury said.

Three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers have been approved by the FDA: Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol; Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol; and Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol. Also, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, a medicine similar to albuterol, is available as Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol, the agency said.

Dr. Ira Finegold, chief of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, doesn't see much difference in the effectiveness of the two types of inhalers. "The end result -- if you need it, does it open up your lungs? Yes, it does," he said.

However, the changeover will involve some patient education, he said. "The old medication, CFC albuterol, was really a very nice product, because the propellant got in your body and came out of your body -- it wasn't absorbed. And remarkably, it is a cleaning agent, so the device was self-cleaning."

The new HFA propellant is safe in the body but can clog the inhaler, Feingold said. "So, after use, these inhalers need to be rinsed out or they are not going to work correctly," he said.

"In addition," Feingold added, "each of the four new inhalers on the market is different in the number of times you have to prime it. There is also a little difference in feel and taste."

The discontinuation of CFC-propelled inhalers is the result of the U.S. Clean Air Act and an international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Under provisions of this treaty, the United States agreed to stop the production and importation of substances that damage the ozone layer, including CFCs, according to the FDA.

More information

For more on inhalers, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

SOURCES: May 30, 2008, teleconference with Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., director, Division of Pulmonary and Allergy Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Ira Finegold, M.D., chief, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Drug That Lowers Resting Heart Rate Being Tested
2. Study finds some kids are being misdiagnosed with asthma
3. What is Being Done to Prevent Misdiagnosis?
4. Ricki Lakes New Movie, The Business of Being Born Promoted by Local Mom-Roots Campaign
5. American Heart Association Congratulates Pioneer Heart Surgeon for Being Named Recipient of Congressional Gold Medal Award
6. New IOF Report Shows Smoking, Alcohol, Being Underweight and Poor Nutrition Harm Our Bones
7. Being a Condom Tester is a Hard Job
8. Penn researchers find emotional well-being has no influence on cancer survival
9. Many at Risk for HIV Not Being Tested
10. Report shows less than half of kids in California are being read to daily
11. Living arrangements, health and well-being: A European perspective
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... To incentivize would-be customers, eMarketing Concepts began a $1 promotion – effectively offering all ... a resounding success, and within weeks the company was flooded with phone calls from ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... The Bill Howe Family of Companies is an award winning HVAC ... remediation services. Family-owned and operated for 35 years, they have maintained value, ethics and ... two years in a row from the Union Tribune Reader’s Poll, a Healthiest Company ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Heroes in Recovery (HIR) is proud to ... Network’s Moments of Change conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. Rob Waggener, CEO ... Dauphinais who exemplify the ideals of the Heroes in Recovery movement. , Noah ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , ... October 12, 2015 , ... Kevin Costello, winner of the “Check-In and Win ... embarks today for his dream vacation to Hawaii. , “I didn’t believe I could win ... says. “This contest encouraged me to get to the gym and invest in my own ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... 12, 2015 , ... The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis ... education and clinical training in a health care discipline. , Many practitioners ... as: losing weight, managing pain, or stopping smoking, etc. Frequently, extravagant statements and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015  Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: AST), ... Therapy Catapult to advance development of large scale ... immunotherapy. Under the agreement, the Cell Therapy Catapult ... to support advanced clinical trials and eventual commercialization ... --> The Cell Therapy Catapult is a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... WASHINGTON , Oct. 12, 2015  Former White House ... Press Secretary for the House Narcotics Committee, Robert Weiner ... "Rewriting Drug Policy." The two emphasize that this is now ... Clinton to Jeb Bush , Carly Fiorina ... Sordello cite the newest federal statistics, which they call "a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- MiMedx Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDXG ), the leading ... processes to develop and market advanced products and therapies ... Ophthalmic, and the Dental sectors of healthcare, announced today ... 2015, its guidance for the fourth quarter of 2015, ... Senior Secured Credit Facility. --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: