The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated the removal of the exemption granted to chlorofluorocarbon-based (CFC) metered-dose albuterol inhalers, and the transition to environmentally-friendly hydrofluoroalkane-based (HFA) albuterol inhalers by December 31, 2008.
During this important transition, the supply of CFC-based asthma inhalers will gradually decline, while supplies of HFA-based inhalers are expected to increase. It's important to talk to your patients now about transitioning to HFA inhaler alternatives early so they can successfully make the switch.
Your asthma patients' next appointment is an opportunity to discuss the switch to a safe and effective HFA quick-relief albuterol inhaler. The following is a guide for talking with patients about the transition, available HFA alternatives, and financial assistance programs for those patients that qualify. This discussion is also an opportunity to remind your patients about overall asthma management topics, including the proper role of quick-relief inhalers in asthma treatment.
Download this free physician leaflet (English and Spanish ) (pdf files). Also, click here to order bulk copies of our free patient brochure ( English and Spanish ), or poster (English only) for your clinic.
AAFA is a member of the US Stakeholders Group on MDI Transition
CFC to HFA Transition: Why Your Patients Should Switch Now
There are a number of reasons why now is a good time to make this transition:
- CFC-based inhalers are harmful to the environment.
- CFC quick-relief albuterol inhalers will not be available after December 31, 2008.
- HFA quick-relief albuterol inhalers are currently available and are the same medicine as the CFC-based version.
- During this transition, manufacturers will gradually reduce their supply of CFC-based quick-relief asthma inhalers and increase supplies of HFA-based quick-relief inhalers.
- Currently, HFA quick-relief albuterol inhaler manufacturers have programs for patients who need financial assistance to make the transition successfully.
- Making the transition to an HFA-based quick-relief albuterol inhaler is a good opportunity to review your patient's overall asthma management plan with them. Return to Menu
About HFA Albuterol Inhalers
HFA quick-relief albuterol inhalers are FDA-approved and are safe and effective alternatives to CFC quick-relief albuterol inhalers. HFA quick-relief inhalers differ from CFC inhalers, specifically in taste and spray force. For example, the sensation of the HFA spray will be less forceful than what CFC patients may be accustomed to. Additionally, HFA inhalers have specific cleaning instructions that patients can find within the information provided with the product or by asking their doctor.
Speak to your patients as soon as possible about transition to an HFA quick-relief asthma inhaler. See Currently Available HFA Inhalers or Return to Menu
Environmental Impact of CFCs
CFCs are man-made hydrocarbons used for decades in products such as refrigerants, foams, solvents, fire extinguishers, and aerosol propellants. Since 1978, CFCs have been removed from almost every product because of the harmful effects CFCs have on the environment by destroying the Earth’s protective ozone layer. The transition from CFC to HFA quick-relief albuterol inhalers is a necessary step to protect the environment. HFA quick-relief albuterol inhalers are as effective and safe as CFC quick-relief inhalers, but are environmentally friendly. Return to Menu
Quick-relief albuterol inhalers work by relaxing the muscles in the airways, but are not intended to treat asthma inflammation. If patients are using their quick-relief albuterol inhaler more than twice a week, it may be a good time to discuss ways to properly control their asthma, including the potential need for a long-term maintenance medication such as an inhaled corticosteroid.
Each visit with your patients is an opportunity to review strategies to avoid asthma triggers. It is critical that patients inform doctors immediately if they experience any problems with their HFA quick-relief albuterol inhaler. Return to Menu
HFA Inhaler Cost and Assistance Programs
If your patients currently have prescription drug coverage through their employer or through Medicare or Medicaid, they will need to confirm the copay that applies to the HFA quick-relief albuterol inhaler. If they self-pay for prescription drug coverage, the cost of HFA quick-relief asthma inhalers may be higher than what they currently pay since there are no generic versions of HFA quick-relief inhalers.
Patients in need of financial assistance should contact The Partnership for Prescription Assistance by calling 1-888-477-2669 or see their Web site for more information. Return to Menu
Order FREE Patient Brochures and Posters
Get 10 or 20 copies of our Patient Brochure and Poster (see links to PDF copies above) for your office for FREE! Click here to e-mail your request for these materials and remember to include your name, phone number and mailing address. Return to Menu
Patients and physicians needing further information on making the transition to an HFA quick-relief inhaler should contact the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) at 1-800-7-ASTHMA. Return to Menu