Phase-Out of Certain COPD and Asthma Inhalers

COPD and asthma inhalers will soon be CFC freeWelcome to July, everyone. Breathing in the hot and humid summer air can be a welcome change for some, but it’s not that easy if you are suffering from COPD or asthma. Many of Brian’s Pharmacies customers depend on their inhalers to do what others take for granted: breathe in and out.

We see in medical news that new types and brands of inhalers are being released to the public on a regular basis, but it’s worth noting that two types of inhalers will no longer be available in the very near future. Most asthma or COPD patients have already consulted their doctors or switched to a different prescription, but if you are still using a Combivent Inhalation Aerosol or Maxair Autohaler, it’s very important that you contact your medical care team and switch to a new prescription.

Why the change? These two brands are the only two remaining on the market that use chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) to propel the medication out of the canister and into the lungs. CFCs have been proven to damage the earth’s protective ozone layer (the part of the earth’s atmosphere that absorbs deadly UV radiation).

  • Combivent Inhalation Aerosol will be discontinued by the end of this month (July 2013). It contains two medicines: ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate. Combivent Respimat contains the same two medicines, but it does not use CFCs to propel the medicine from the inhaler.
  • Maxair Autohaler will not be available after December 31. It contains the medicine pirbuterol, a bronchodilator. Similar medicines such as albuterol or levalbuterol are present in non-CFC inhalers.

All FDA-approved inhalers on the market have been proven effective. CFC alternative inhalers use hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs) as a propellant. HFA-propelled inhalers taste and feel different than CFC inhalers. Some patients have noticed that the spray is less forceful from an HFA inhaler. Doctors agree, however, that the medication is still effective for treating COPD and asthma.

It would be unsafe to be without your inhaler if you have COPD or asthma, so be sure to speak with your medical care team as soon as possible if you are currently using one of these CFC propelled inhalers. You’ll want to get a comparable prescription right away.

As always, we wish you good health!


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