CFC-Containing Inhalers Phasing Out

FDA has announced that seven metered-dose inhalers (MDI) used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are being gradually removed from the U.S. marketplace. According to the agency's Web site, these inhalers contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are propellants that move medication out of the inhaler and into the lungs of patients. The removal is in accordance with agreements under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Alternative medications that do not contain CFCs are available, FDA says. Patients should continue to use current medications but are advised to discuss these alternative treatments with physicians.

"During this transition, FDA wants to ensure that patients have access to safe and effective alternative medications to treat their asthma or COPD,” said Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, on the agency's Web site. “We are currently working with professional societies and patient organizations to make sure patients understand which products will no longer be available and have information on which alternative medication might work best for them.”

Several CFC-containing inhalers have already been removed from the U.S. market. FDA proposed to phase-out the seven remaining products in 2007 and reached a final decision after reviewing more than 4000 public comments and information submitted as part of a public meeting.

For a list of the affected products, click here.

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