The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) announced a growing shortage of albuterol inhalers in certain areas throughout the US during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Albuterol is indicated for the treatment or prevention of bronchospasm in patients with reversible obstructive airway disease. The shortage is due to the increased allocation of albuterol inhalers to hospitals for COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19 patients, to help with respiratory issues. According to ACAAI, there is concern that the use of nebulizers on hospitalized COVID-19 patients could spread the virus in the air. 

Due to the potential shortage of albuterol inhalers, the ACAAI recommends patients do the following:

  • Check the inhaler to make sure it still has medicine and avoid overuse.
  • If necessary, an expired albuterol inhaler may be used as it may still be partially effective.
  • Discuss additional treatment options with a healthcare professional if refills are unavailable.

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A review of available inhalation therapies for asthma management can be found here.

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