If you or someone you love is using an albuterol inhaler, you need to read this

Fast-relief albuterol inhalers to treat asthma symptoms will go green in the United States starting January 1, 2009, as mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, it is estimated that up to 40 percent of the 20 million U.S. patients using CFC inhalers have not yet made the required switch from CFC to HFA inhalers. How do you do this and how do you learn more?

More Information:

The FDA is urging that the remaining 40 percent of patients switch to ozone-friendly HFA inhalers immediately. 

To ensure a safe and timely transition, Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals, which markets ProAir® HFA (which they say is the most widely used HFA albuterol inhaler) to provide fast relief for asthma symptoms provides so excellent resources to patients, physicians, and pharmacists to assist in the change over.

Teva has initiated an information campaign, available here, which provides educational resources for both patients and physicians to better understand the potential effects of the changeover. 

For example, as asthma patients switch to HFA inhalers, they may experience a different taste and feel to the spray, and there are differences in costs and inhaler cleaning instructions that patients need to understand

In addition, Teva has developed comprehensive patient assistance programs to help qualified patients reduce the burden of cost increases as they switch to HFA inhalers. ProAir® HFA is accessible on most managed care plans, and Teva is offering a discount program for cash-paying patients and those with third-party coverage. All financial offerings are available here.   

Full Prescribing Information:

ProAir® HFA is indicated in patients 4 years of age and older for the treatment or prevention of bronchospasm with reversible obstructive airway disease and for the prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Important Safety Information

Inhaled albuterol sulfate can produce paradoxical bronchospasm that may be life-threatening. It should be recognized that paradoxical bronchospasm, when associated with inhaled formulations, frequently occurs with the first use of a new canister.

Fatalities have been reported in association with excessive use of inhaled sympathomimetic drugs in patients with asthma.

ProAir® HFA, as with all sympathomimetic amines, should be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular disorders (especially coronary insufficiency, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension), convulsive disorders, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes.

Potential drug interactions can occur with beta-blockers, diuretics, digoxin, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Do not exceed the recommended dose.

Adverse events, which occurred at an incidence rate of at least 3% with ProAir® HFA, include headache, tachycardia, pain, dizziness, pharyngitis, and rhinitis.