Thursday, October 23, 2014

 

H1N1 Novel Influenza Update

 

M innesota Department of Health 

Two Doses of Chickenpox Vaccine Required

for School in 2009


INHALER NEWS FROM MN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

BREATHING SPACE NEWSLETTER:

 

Transitioning from CFC to HFA Based Albuterol Inhalers

As of December 31, 2008, all albuterol CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) based MDI (metered-dose inhaler) medications will no longer be available. Instead, patients who use albuterol inhalers should be transitioned to environmentally friendly HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) based albuterol inhalers. CFC and HFA are the chemicals that actually propel the active medication out of the inhaler canister. These propellants are found in almost all MDI (Metered Dose Inhaler) control and rescue type medications.
 
While the medication inside the HFA inhaler is relatively the same as in the CFC inhalers, there are some differences between the two and you should anticipate this as you transition. Some patients have noticed that the sensation of the HFA spray is less forceful, has a "softer mist" delivery and feels warmer than CFC based inhalers. In addition, HFA's also have a very distinctive taste and require the user to inhale with a slow deep breath. 
HFA inhalers also have specific cleaning instructions that should be provided when you pick up your inhaler medication (package insert) or by asking your health care provider.  Some of the HFA inhalers require priming up to 4 presses before use and again if the inhaler hasn't been used for a specific period of time. Check package inserts included with your medication for specific information because each medication can have different instructions. HFA inhalers need to be washed with warm water and air dried once a week. The medication is stickier and can clog the opening, reducing the amount of medication the spray delivers.

In addition to the physical changes of the inhalers, there are cost issues. There currently are no generic brand rescue (albuterol type) inhalers and the cost difference between a CFC based rescue medication and an HFA can be 2-3 times more expensive. There are currently four HFA rescue inhalers on the market and there are differences. They are Ventolin by GlaxoSmithKline, ProAir by Teva, Proventil by Schering-Plough and Xopenex by Sepracor. Xopenex uses a different chemical, levalbuterol and only one inhaler, Ventolin, has a dose counter, which helps users keep track of how much medication is left. ProAir has the softest spray of the current rescue medications.  All companies have give-away programs for those in need. There is financial assistance available through Partnership for Prescription Assistance http://pparxmn.org/ or call: 1-888-477-2669.

For more information, go to http://www.fda.gov/cder/mdi/mdifaqs.htm

Excerpts taken from the May 13, 2008, NewYorkTimes.com article titled:
"Rough Transition to a New Asthma Inhaler"
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/health/13asth.html?ex=1211860800&en=c13a97528e59f24c&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Inhalers
Teva Pharmaceuticals
Both types of asthma inhalers use the drug albuterol. But the newer one (HFA), left, has a softer spray.