FDA – Ban on Asthma Inhalers

The FDA has decided to ban asthma inhalers that cause harm to the ozone layer. Asthma sufferers who use over-the-counter inhalers will have to choose a prescription version of their medication by the end of the year. According to the FDA, the asthma inhalers that contain epinephrine need to be banned because they contain chlorofluorocarbons, which damage the ozone. Chlorofluorocarbons are found in several types of consumer goods.

As of December 31, 2011, the ban on Primatene Mist inhalers goes into effect – Primatene Mist, which is marketed by Armstrong Pharmaceutical Inc., will no longer be sold. Currently, these are the only over-the-counter asthma inhalers available to consumers. There are more than a million users of Primatene Mist asthma inhalers who will be affected by the ban. The FDA urges users to readily make plans for their replacements.

This step was taken based on an international agreement by the United States and other countries to make efforts to protect the earth’s ozone layer. The new inhalers fit into the ‘going green’ movement, but will cost patients up to 3 times more than their current inhalers. Asthma inhaler manufacturing companies have been producing earth friendly inhalers for the past several years. Unfortunately, these inhalers are all prescription-only. The FDA is planning to review applications for environmentally friendly replacement products in the near future.

Asthma patients should talk with their health care providers about switching to new inhalers. Those without regular doctors may be able to get assistance and prescriptions from walk-in medical facilities. For more information about asthma inhalers visit the Mayo Clinic website.

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