Seven inhalers will be taken off market

On April 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that seven metered dose inhalers that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are being phased out in the United States. These inhalers use CFCs as propellants to spray the medicine out of the inhaler so patients can breathe the medicine into their lungs.

The seven CFC inhalers are used for the treatment of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or both. Both diseases cause a decrease in air flow to the lungs.

Dates for the phase-out of each CFC inhaler have been set. After those dates, these CFC inhalers cannot be made, dispensed, or sold in the United States.

The seven CFC inhalers are listed here by their brand names, along with their manufacturers and the last date they can be sold in the United States. The generic names for the medicines appear in parentheses.

Tilade Inhaler (nedocromil), made by King Pharmaceuticals, last date for sale: June 14, 2010.

Alupent Inhalation Aerosol (metaproterenol), made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, last date for sale: June 14, 2010.

Azmacort Inhalation Aerosol (triamcinolone), made by Abbott Laboratories, last date for sale: Dec. 31, 2010.
Intal Inhaler (cromolyn), made by King Pharmaceuticals, last date for sale: Dec. 31, 2010.

Aerobid Inhaler System (flunisolide), made by Forest Laboratories, last date for sale: June 30, 2011.

Combivent Inhalation Aerosol (albuterol and ipratropium in combination), made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, last date for sale: Dec. 31, 2013.
Maxair Autohaler (pirbuterol), made by Graceway Pharmaceuticals, last date for sale: Dec. 31, 2013.

Four of the seven CFC inhalers are no longer being made. Three CFC inhalers currently in use—Aerobid, Combivent, and Maxair—will be phased out over the next one to three years. These later phase-out dates give patients time to talk with their health care professionals and switch to another medicine.

If you use one of these CFC inhalers, talk with your health care professional and switch to a medicine that does not contain CFCs. You cannot be sure how long you will be able to buy your CFC inhaler because manufacturers may stop making them before the last day they can be sold. For example, the manufacturers of Alupent Inhalation Aerosol and Tilade Inhaler have already stopped making these drugs.

If you have an inhaler after the last day the inhaler can be sold, you may continue to use it

CFCs harm the environment by decreasing the ozone layer above the earth. The ozone layer protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

There are many other inhalers available in the United States that don’t contain CFCs. Talk to your health care professional to decide which one is right for you.

To see some of the FDA-approved treatments for asthma and COPD, visit the FDA Web page “Drug Treatments for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that Do Not Use Chlorofluorocarbons4.” There are inhalers that use the propellant hydrofluoroalkane, or HFA, instead of CFCs. There are also dry powder inhalers that don’t use a propellant at all, and liquids that are used with a nebulizer machine.
These medicines to treat your asthma or COPD may look, feel, or taste different, and may be used differently than your CFC inhaler.

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