WASHINGTON, D.C. (5/28/13) – The last two inhalers in the United States that contain ozone-damaging chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) will both be taken off the market by the end of this year. People with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who use these inhalers should talk to their health care providers about a prescription for an alternative.
While change can be unsettling, most people who use inhalers have already switched to those that are CFC-free, and in general, the transition has gone smoothly. The final two inhalers on the market using CFCs are Combivent Inhalation Aerosol and Maxair Autohaler.
Combivent Inhalation Aerosol will no longer be available after July 2013. It contains two medicines—ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate. A bronchodialator intended to open airways, it is approved for patients with COPD. An alternative inhaler—Combivent Respimat—contains the same two medicines but does not contain CFCs. It was approved by the FDA in 2011.
Maxair Autohaler will not be available after Dec. 31, 2013. This inhaler contains pirbuterol, which is also a bronchodilator and is used for the treatment of bronchial spasms in patients with asthma or COPD. Alternative inhalers are available that contain other bronchodilator medicines, such as albuterol or levalbuterol, but do not use CFCs as a propellant to move the medicine from the inhaler.
May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and thus an appropriate time to make sure people using these two inhalers know that alternatives should be considered before the product they are using goes off the market. Sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, this awareness month is also a good time for people who suffer from those conditions—or who are exposed to high-risk conditions like cigarette smoke that may trigger the diseases—to learn about prevention, treatment and resources.
Information provided by the United States Food and Drug Administration
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