FDA issues advice for switch to HFA-albuterol inhalers

June 4, 2008

The agency releases alert to transition patients to new albuterol inhalers by year's end.

Come December 31, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-propelled inhalers will not be available in the United States due to their harmful effects on the atmosphere’s ozone layer. The Food & Drug Administration has issued a reminder to patients and healthcare professionals of the impending change to the more environmentally-friendly hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellant. According to the FDA, manufacturers have been ramping up production of the HFA-containing inhalers so an adequate supply is available. The agency warns that a spray of the HFA inhaler may have a softer feel or a different taste than the CFC-propelled inhalers and that HFA inhalers also require priming and cleaning to prevent buildup of drug in the device. So far, three HFA-propelled albuterol inhalers are FDA-approved: Proair HFA (Ivax), Proventil HFA (3M), and Ventolin HFA (GlaxoSmithKline). Xopenex HFA (Sepracor), containing levalbuterol, is also available. The phaseout of inhalers containing CFC is a result of the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol in Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

To see more Daily News articles, click here.

To go to the Drug Topics homepage, click here.