Dating back to the 1980s, many countries signed an agreement to phase out CFC propellants in products to keep from further damaging the ozone layer in the atmosphere which protects us from the sun’s radiation. Most inhaler manufacturers were given a deadline of 2008 to remove the CFC propellant. The white generic albuterol inhalers made by Wallace or Warrick were no longer available as they contained the CFC propellant rather than the newer HFA (Hydroflouroalkane) propellant. I have seen patients who still carry these inhalers in their purses although they expired years ago!
Two inhalers were given an additional five years to remove the CFC propellant: Combivent and Maxair. Combivent because it was unique formulation that contained both albuterol and ipratroprium and Maxair because it was a unique breath actuated device.
Users of the old Combivent inhaler already have an alternative. Combivent Respimat was approved by the FDA in 2011 and has been available since mid 2012. The new Combivent is only one puff per dose rather than two. Maxair will no longer be manufactured or sold after December 31, 2013. If you use Maxair, talk with your health care professional about your options. Further information about Maxair can be found here.
CFC FDA Consumer Update full version
List of non-CFC inhalers
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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.