Monday, September 15, 2008

Are all albuterol HFA inhalers created equal?

Short answer: NO. The active chemical compound (albuterol) and the propellant (HFA) are the same, but the devices are not the same. Because of the Montreal Protocol, HFA has become the preferred propellant. The albuterol HFA inhalers do work the same. They have the same number of puffs of albuterol - 200. Photos of the inhalers can be seen here. As can be seen, the inhalers differ in (1) appearance. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology created this table to highlight the other differences. (2) The excipient alcohol is not is every inhaler. (3) The taste varies because some contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega fatty acid. (This is found in high concentrations in olive oil and Brazilian açaí fruit.) (4) Ventolin HFA's device is the only one with a counter for the number of sprays. (5) Finally, albuterol HFA inhalers differ in price. Which is the most cost effective? This depends on what tier your insurance classifies the products, how much each product in that tier costs (consult your drug formulary handbook), and if you have any discount coupons. Be sure to ask your doctor and the pharmacist about coupons. Currently with the switch to HFA occurring, (only about 60% of patients have switched to HFA so far), there are a lot of promotions, time-limited and quantity-limited of course. I can say they all cost about cash $35-$45 before insurance kicks in.

A word of caution. There is NO generic albuterol HFA inhaler. It does not exist. If your prescription is for albuterol HFA inhaler, do not accept it. If you want an albuterol HFA inhaler, you have to choose one of these four brand-name products. Remember Maxair Autohaler is a dry-powder inhaler that is available and equally effective. Be careful and ask questions!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you know that thousands of Asthma patients are not getting relief from the HFA inhalers? Take a look:

Read the thousands of complaints:

This particular petition has 4000 signatures and is growing everyday. There are also many complaints at consumer affairs:

More complaints:

If you are unhappy with the new HFA inhalers, kindly sign the petition to save CFC inhalers.
The National Campaign to Save CFC Asthma Inhalers

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