Non-CFC propellant is environmentally friendly
As of December 31, 2008 all existing asthma rescue inhalers
which use Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) propellant will no longer
be available. They will be replaced with new inhalers that use
Hydrofluoroalkane-based (HFA) propellant. These changes have
occurred due to laws passed to protect the environment. The
medication will be the same. Only the ingredients used to deliver
the medication into the lungs will be new and different.
Delivery feels different
The spray of the new HFA inhalers feels different as it enters
your mouth and throat. You will now experience a soft
moist spray instead of the familiar forceful blast
of medication. The medication will also taste less bitter and
use of a spacer continues to be recommended.
With the new inhalers it is important to take in a slow deep
breath with your medication and hold it for a full count to
Use and Care
Use and care of the new inhalers is also different.
- Most of them will require 4 primes of
- If the medication is not used during a two-week period,
they will need to have 3-4 primes again. For Xopenex this
time period of non-use is only 3 days.
- The plastic canister for all of the new inhalers must be
washed weekly due to the sticky nature of the propellant.
- It is critical to read the patient instructions for your
new HFA inhalers to determine the care that your inhaler will
In 2009 the HFA inhalers will only be available as a brand
name product. There will not be a generic HFA inhaler. The cost
ranges between $30.00 and $60.00. Individuals and families who
do not have prescription coverage and have trouble affording
their medicine(s) may be eligible for patient assistance programs.
These programs, offered by many pharmaceutical manufacturers,
provide many brand name medicines for free or low cost if the
applicant meets income requirements.
Info & Assistance
Meds Access Program of the Human Services Coalition can
help residents of Tompkins County identify and apply to these
programs. Call the Information
and Referral line at (607) 272-9331, or 211, between 9:00
and 4:30 p.m. and ask to speak to a representative of the Prescription
Meds Access Program. Additional information from the Asthma
and Allergy Foundation of America can be found at www.transitionnow.org.
This site also has a helpful link to financial assistance for
the new more costly inhalers.
||Cool forceful blast
||Soft, moist spray — less cool
||Different tastes — Not bitter
||3 days to 2 weeks
||Little to none
||$5.00 to $25.00
||$30.00 to $60.00 (no generic)
||May contain corn-based alcohol
||Harmful to ozone
|*When the inhaler
is not used within the recommended time period of 3 days
to two weeks, it will need to be re primed. It does not
need to be re primed with daily use.
The pictures below illustrate how to use a spacer: