(dailyRx News) Next year, you will not be able to buy asthma inhalers without a prescription. A popular medication is being phased out because it contains chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Primatene Mist, the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler sold in the United States, will no longer be available after December 31, 2011.
This action is part of the phasing out of epinephrine inhalers that use CFCs as a propellant that allows the medicine to be inhaled into the lungs.
Primatene Mist is approved for temporary relief of mild asthma symptoms.
Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., director of FDA’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products, says that if you've been using this inhaler for breathing difficulties, you should see your healthcare provider.
Dr. Chowdhury says it's important to have your breathing problems diagnosed, because asthma may or may not be the root cause.
In discussion since 2006, the FDA made final plans to phase out inhalers using CFCs in 2008. CFCs are known to deplete the ozone layer, which protects against the sun's damaging ultraviolet radiation.
Many manufacturers changed the propellant in their inhalers to one that uses hydrofluoroalkane (HFA).