Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

The CFC Inhaler Phase-out Continues: Seven More Inhalers To Go off the Market

by Sam Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC

As many people with respiratory conditions are aware, the United States entered into an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The U.S. also passed a law called the Clean Air Act, which was created to protect the public and the environment from the potential effects of ozone depletion.

Both call for banning products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and part of the phase-out includes inhalers that utilize CFCs as a propellant. While some inhalers have already been phased out, a new round of phase-outs will begin shortly. Over the next three years, the U.S. government will phase out the following seven inhalers:

  • Tilade Inhaler (nedocromil): June 14, 2010
  • Alupent Inhalation Aerosol (metaproterenol): June 14, 2010
  • Azmacort Inhalation Aerosol (triamcinolone): Dec. 31, 2010
  • Intal Inhaler (cromolyn): Dec. 31, 2010
  • Aerobid Inhaler System (flunisolide): June 30, 2011
  • Combivent Inhalation Aerosol (albuterol and ipratropium in combination): Dec. 31, 2013
  • Maxair Autohaler (pirbuterol): Dec. 31, 2013

If you are using one of these inhalers now, be sure your doctor prescribes a different type of medication to treat your condition. In most cases, you will be given a different kind of inhaler called a "dry powder inhaler," or DPI, that does not rely on CFCs to operate. To learn more about these alternative medications, visit the FDA's Drug Treatments for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that Do Not Use Chlorofluorocarbons.

While these inhalers are just as effective in treating your lung condition as your CFC inhaler, there are significant differences in their care and use. You can learn more about DPIs on in the online tutorial, Get the Most from your Prescribed Inhaled Medications. Scroll down to the section on "How to Use Your DPI" for an overview of these devices, and be sure to ask your doctor or respiratory therapist to instruct you on the proper use of the specific inhaler prescribed to replace your CFC inhaler.  

Sam Giordano is a respiratory therapist and executive director of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

A version of this article will be published in the June 2010 issue of AARC Times, a publication of the AARC.




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