SEATTLE In less than three months, inhalers for respiratory illnesses that use chlorofluorocarbons as propellants will no longer be sold in the United States.
Inhalers will instead use hydrofluoroalkane propellants because of CFCs destructive effect on the atmospheric ozone layer.
At a national press briefing during the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, representatives from the organization and Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics urged the medical community to educate their patients with respiratory disorders about the upcoming transition from CFCs to HFAs.
“This is the first time that an effective medication has been removed from the market in the U.S. for an environmental issue,” said Ira Finegold, chief of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in the Department of Medicine at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, in a statement issued Monday. “However, the newer products are not identical and each has specific differences. Physicians should monitor patients making the transition to HFA albuterol to be sure they understand the differences in the use and care of the newer products.”
The transition has been forthcoming for some time, but IMS Health data show that 14 million patients still use the CFC-propelled inhalers.
“A significant number of patients are still not aware of the federal mandate or how to safely go about making this change,” AANMA president and founder Nancy Sander said. “Patients and physicians need to know that inhalers are changing, these changes are mandatory, and there are important decisions to make about treatment options that require thoughtful consideration of the patient’s medical history and current respiratory health status.”