The FDA announced that metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) will be gradually removed from the market. This action is in accordance with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. CFCs are ozone-depleting propellants that move medication out of the inhaler into patients’ lungs.
Alternative medications that do not contain CFCs are available. Patients using the inhalers scheduled to be phased out should continue using their current inhaler medication until they discuss with their healthcare provider about switching to an alternative treatment.
The affected MDIs and their phase out dates include:
- Alupent Inhaler (metaproterenol sulfate, from Boehringer Ingelheim) – June 14, 2010
- Azmacort (triamcinolone acetonide, from Abbott) – December 31, 2010
- Aerobid (flunisolide, from Forest) – June 30, 2011
- Combivent (ipratropium bromide, from Boehringer Ingelheim) – December 31, 2013
- Maxair Autohaler (pirbuterol acetate, from Graceway) – December 31, 2013
For more information visit www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm207864.htm.