Albuterol inhalers that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) will not be sold in the U.S. after December 31, 2008.
Albuterol inhalers that contain hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs) will take the place of CFC inhalers. Both CFC and HFA are pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDI).
Propellant is one of the most important components of a MDI. The propellant provides the force to generate the aerosol cloud and is also the medium in which the active component must be suspended or dissolved. Propellants in MDIs typically make up more than 99 % of the delivered dose.
FAQ on the transition by FDA
Why are CFC inhalers being phased out?
Due to an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. CFCs decrease the protective ozone layer above the earth.
What HFA inhalers are available?
There are 3 albuterol HFA inhalers:
- ProAir HFA
- Proventil HFA
- Ventolin HFA
FDA has also approved Xopenex HFA with the active ingredient levalbuterol.
How are HFA inhalers different from CFC inhalers?
CFC propellants move the albuterol medicine out of the inhaler so patients can breathe the medicine into their lungs. HFAs are a different type of propellant.
Albuterol HFA and albuterol CFC may taste and feel different. The force of the spray may feel softer from HFA than from CFC.
The spray from a CFC inhaler often hits the back of the mouth. The spray from an HFA inhaler is a fine mist that may actually be easier to breathe into your lungs compared to a CFC.
HFA inhalers have to be cleaned and primed to work properly. Each HFA inhaler has different instructions for cleaning and priming.
A $9-albuterol (Ventolin) HFA inhaler is available from Wal-Mart. It is less expensive than most HFA inhalers but it contains only 90 "puffs" as opposed to 200 "puffs" for all other albuterol inhalers.
FDA Drug Safety Podcasts, Transition from Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) Propelled Albuterol Inhalers to Hydrofluroalkane (HFA) Propelled Albuterol Inhalers. FDA.
Metered-dose inhaler, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Doctors Hear Gripes About HFA Inhalers. Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today, 03/2009.
Image source: ProAir-HFA Albuterol Sulfate (US), Wikipedia, public domain.