The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory to alert
patients, caregivers and health care professionals to switch to hydrofluoroalkane
(HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled
inhalers will not be available in the United States after Dec. 31, 2008. CFC-
propelled albuterol inhalers are being phased out because they are harmful to the
environment by contributing to depletion of the ozone layer above the Earth’s
Three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers have been approved by the FDA:
- Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol,
- Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol, and
- Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol.
In addition, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, a medicine similar to
albuterol, is available as Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol.
Albuterol inhalers are used to treat bronchospasm (wheezing) in patients with
asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic
bronchitis and emphysema. Patients use albuterol inhalers to deliver medicine
directly into the lungs. The FDA is urging patients to talk with their health care
professionals now about switching to HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. These
products are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers.
HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers may taste and feel different than the CFC-
propelled albuterol inhalers. The spray of an HFA-propelled albuterol inhaler may
feel softer than that of a CFC-propelled albuterol inhaler. Patients must also prime
and clean HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. Doing so prevents buildup of the drug
in the inhalation device, and buildup can block the medicine from reaching the
lungs. Each HFA-propelled albuterol inhaler has different priming, cleaning, and
drying instructions, and patients should read and understand the instructions first
before using the inhaler.
For more information: http://www.fda.gov/cder/mdi/albuterol.htm