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Environmental gone too far - VENT

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm putting this in IMO because it does have to do with environmental issues, and we know how heated those threads can get.

But I need to vent about the new environmental regulations "they" (whoever in the heck "they" are that pushed this through) put on asthma rescue inhalers. Now, these are the things that give you a small dose of steroids that are inhaled into the lungs to stop an asthma attack. The new regulations say that there can be no CFCs in the inhalers any more, which means that they have effectively removed the propellant.

The result, at least from what I can tell from the new inhaler I just got on a refill, is that without the propellant, you have to inhale much stronger in order to get the steroid into your lungs. Yeah, great idea FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T BREATHE! Usually I get relief in one or two puffs. Tonight it took 4 just to get the medication deep enough into my lungs to really get any relief, and a full 6 puffs before I actually felt mostly normal. And I have pretty mild asthma - I'm not going to pass out or die like those with severe asthma could.

To add insult to injury, since they had to reformulate the inhaler and reconfigure the delivery system without CFCs, all of the companies got new patents on their formulas. Which means that for 1 year, there are NO (as in ZERO options) generic equivalents. So it was quite a surprise for me when I got my refill and it went from $10 (copay for generic drugs) to FULL price of $35 (the full price was apparently less than the "copay" for the level of name-brand drug). I never even heard about this in the news, and I do try to pay attention to things that pertain to me and my medical conditions, and maybe this one slipped past me, but shouldn't something like this be more publicized?

I do understand that CFCs are bad for the environment. I do believe that we should be good stewards to our mother earth. But I also believe that you have to be alive and healthy to do that. I just can't see that the number of times that inhalers are used by people having asthma attacks is seriously enough to make that much of a difference. But NOT having the CFCs in the inhaler seems to be making a big difference when I needed it.
post #2 of 18
So, wait a second. Essentially, if someone has a severe asthama attack & is
"suffocating"(I do not know if that's the word I want), they have to puff 3x as many times as before? Aren't those precious seconds of air?

Why aren't we doing something to eliminate bigger problems to the environment that don't risk the general asthmatic population so?
post #3 of 18
I agree. "They" should have come up with a viable alternative before eliminating the CFCs.
I have exercise-induced asthma although the inhalers don't seem to do anything for me. Doctors think I'm lying when I tell them that they don't work
There has to be other people upset about this.
post #4 of 18
I think it is possible that you have a faulty inhaler.
We have had CS free inhalers in the UK for ages and I and three family members who use them have had no problems.
post #5 of 18
Maybe they haven't got it right in the inhalers over here?

I noticed this a over a month ago when DH's mail order inhalers came in the mail. There was this red warning on the bottom of the box -
"IMPORTANT Inhalers like this one are being discontinued due to environmental impact.
For more information go to www.proventihfa.com or call: 1-877-HFA-7768 "

Did no one else see this on their inhaler boxes?

I had intended to make a post about it warning people with asthma or to find out if anyone else had noticed it. I forgot.

(I put the site address and number in case anyone else with asthma wants to check it out or call)
post #6 of 18
CFCs have not been used in Australia for several years - decades. No problems here - in fact, the ozone layer damaged by Australia's use of CFCs has almost repaired itself completely. I am asthmatic and have never had any issues with my puffers.

Perhaps they are manufactured differently in the States? I hope they sort something out - this sounds as though it could be dangerous. Although, I have difficutly believing that anything that could be potentially life threatening like this has been allowed to pass.
post #7 of 18
My sister started using the non CFC quite a while ago, it comes as a disk with pills where a small needle pierces the plastic, you twist it to get the pill powder (?) into a cavity in the inhaler and you suck the fine powder (?) in.

It took a few days to get used to it, but she never mentioned not getting enough (in fact she mentioned when first using it that it worked better)

(?) I am guessing a powder, I have never opened it up to see
post #8 of 18
Do you mean the once to twice daily inhaled steroid medicines like advair? Those are not a rescue inhaler and cannot replace one, those are a preventative that is to help keep inflammation down.

The silly point of this is, why are they getting rid of the normal inhalers and doing nothing about several common day products on store shelves?
post #9 of 18
Hopefully it was just a faulty inhaler. Have you checked back with the pharmacist about that?
post #10 of 18
It is just like the preventative one but is the rescue inhaler, her preventative is orange in colour and her rescue one is blue, but work the same, but as Anakat and KitEKats4Eva mentioned, the UK and Australia made efforts to rid products of CFC's a long time ago.
post #11 of 18
My rescue inhalers are all from Mexico as that's where my mother buys them in bulk.
I cannot read Spanish (she can), so I have no idea if mine have CFCs or not, but they seem to work fine.
post #12 of 18
I know exactly what you mean, there is no 'puff' in the new Intal or Provental inhalers. My DS said the new inhaler tasted horrible, there is liquid instead of 'puffed-medicated air' going into his lungs. Not only that, it COSTS more than the older version too. I think it has nothing to do with the environment. I think they want people to squirt more into their lungs so they can finish the canister faster and then buy more. IMO, those inhalers are poison anyway.

My DS now uses Great Mullein, he smokes it-just a couple of puffs will stop an asthma attack. Great Mullein can also be made into a tea. DS has the attacks sometimes in winter. He said that the Mullein works BETTER than the inhaler.
IMO herbs are SO MUCH BETTER than the contemporary medicine of today. The medicine of today IMO is poison. It has side effects, and with these side effects, a patient will need MORE MEDICINE to combat the side effects.

ETA: I had to take back the 'new inhaler' to the pharmacy because my DS thought it was faulty, and it was not. I am glad we found a MUCH LESS expensive alternative, he was so angry with the new inhaler.

Mullein for asthma link:

There are many herbs that are sufficient for healing instead of going the 'modern medicine' route.
post #13 of 18
Just an FYI: the supposed reason that medications like Advair now come in a powedered form (Advair uses one of the same medications as Flovent, which I have as a puff inhaler) is that it delivers the medication much more effectively than the aerosol version. The powder is supposed to actually stick to the lungs, whereas the inhaler types you breathe a lot of it out. At least that's what my dad, the pharmicist, says about it.

I'll call home later today and ask about the new CFC-free types, as it will affect me too. But I don't get how you're supposed to breathe the stuff in if you can't breathe at all. I'll see what he says about it and let you guys know.
post #14 of 18
Ok, dad says that there have been other people who have complained of the same problem, but six puffs still sounds like too much. He suggests getting another inhaler from the same provider (the batch might have been bad) or switching companies. He says that there are three different companies still producing the rescue inhalers, and so one company might work better than another.

I don't know if that helps at all, I do know that I'll have to try different ones out too to see what works for me soon.
post #15 of 18
I was pretty ticked about the price increase. I went in to get a refill for a $16 inhaler and it jumped up to $70. I was able to find a $35 inhaler after much searching, it isn't generic, but it isn't Proventil. On the positive side I think it tastes a lot better than my old albuterol and I have no problems whatsoever with getting it into my lungs- and I have really poor lung capacity since I can't afford to pay for my preventative treatment (Singulair).

I just can't believe they would force a law like this without giving time for generic alternatives to develop. To go from $16 to $70 is just insane.

Needing to take six inhalations is incredibly serious and you should not be messing around with that. If you are getting to that level you seriously need to go over your action plan- call 911 immediately and upon release from the hospital make sure you have an appointment with your asthma doctor to reassess your treatment. There is never a normal reason to need to use your inhaler that much in such a sort period of time. You can go into status asthmaticus very quickly and with little warning. if my asthma doesn't respond to two puffs in five minutes I am to take two more and call 911- this is the general plan for all of us. I have seen entirely too many people end up hospitalized for not taking a non-medication responsive asthma attack seriously. It doesn't matter if you have mild-persistant asthma or if you have severe asthma- any asthma can kill you.
post #16 of 18
I've had asthma my entire life.
I was a teenager when home treatment became available. I had a spinhaler, which was a capsule that was pierced by two prongs and you would breathe in the medication. It worked, tasted awful & felt heavy in my lungs, but was a huge step up from hospital visits.
When the MDI's (metered dose inhalers) came out, it was a huge step forward. a couple of puffs and life was good.
Several years ago, they came out with the HFA inhalers that were ozone friendly. I was pleased to become "green," until I used the inhaler. It appears that I am sensitive to the new propellent. I get worse before I get better and it takes more puffs to get better. Fortunately there is a time release albuterol tablet I can take & works very well.
I may end up back with the updated spinhaler form, but I do not consider it progress. I am actualy considering getting a handheld nebulizer instead.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well, I should clarify that the 6 puffs was over the period of over an hour...it just kept coming back, though. I really do need to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss this because this is just unacceptable. The prescription I have is for Proventil, but she said basically all of the albuteral rescue inhalers are the same.

Frankly, I don't even know if the different types of rescue inhalers that y'all have in the UK & Australia are available here. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get FDA approval and just because it's accepted in other countries doesn't mean it's a shoe in here. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of those drug manufacturers didn't go through the process with the other types because the CFC inhalers were accepted and generic equivalents available, so there probably wasn't/isn't a lot of money to be made in the asthma drug business for anything besides preventatives.
post #18 of 18
Nearly all of the asthma medication I am on is preventative - Ventolin (Proventil in the US) and Seretide (Serevent in the US - steroid inhaler) are what I use for prophylaxis, and actual tablet-form steroids when I have a bad episode.

The inhalers in Australia are the same drug just different brand names - so you'd think that it would be possible to manufacture the inhalers the same way without significant cost or, most importantly, health risk involved. I mean, we have been using HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) as propellants instead of CFCs for so many years now, the science is tested and safe - why could the US just do that instead?

I'm oversimplifying but at least this is one instance where we actually do know the outcome of making this change. It's highly beneficial for the environment, HFCs are very successful propellants, no industry or economy has been destroyed by changing to this particular `greener' product - it's a no-brainer, really!
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