FDA Advises on Switch to HFA-Propelled Albuterol Inhalers

May 30, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a public health advisory alerting patients and health care providers to make the switch to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled inhalers will no longer be available in the United States after December 31, 2008.

FRIDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a public health advisory alerting patients and health care providers to make the switch to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-propelled albuterol inhalers because chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled inhalers will no longer be available in the United States after December 31, 2008.

CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers are being phased out because CFCs contribute to depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. In accordance with the Clean Air Act and an international environmental treaty, no CFC-propelled inhalers may be produced or sold in the United States after December 31, 2008.

The FDA encourages patients to talk to their health care professionals now about switching to HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers. Three such inhalers have been approved by the FDA: Proair HFA Inhalation Aerosol, Proventil HFA Inhalation Aerosol, and Ventolin HFA Inhalation Aerosol. In addition, Xopenex HFA Inhalation Aerosol, an HFA-propelled inhaler containing levalbuterol, is also available. Patients should be counseled that HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers may taste and feel different from CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers, and also require a priming and cleaning step. Patients should read the packaging materials for detailed instructions before using the inhaler.

"Concern about the environment stimulated the need to phase out CFCs," explained Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The FDA wants to emphasize that HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers are safe and effective replacements for CFC-propelled albuterol inhalers."

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