Epinephrine inhalers that use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant will nolonger be sold in the U.S. after December 31, 2011. CFCs released into the
environment damage the ozone layer in the atmosphere.
Epinephrine inhalers, which are used to treat asthma, are sold over-the-counter as Primatene Mist or epinephrine mist. Because these products will not be available after the end of 2011, people who now use them will need to switch to a different way to treat their asthma. And because there presently are not any FDA-approved epinephrine inhalers that are made without CFCs or sold without a prescription, people will need to talk to their doctors.
There are other inhalers that contain a different asthma medication, such as albuterol, but they are only available by prescription. Albuterol inhalers use propellants called hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs) that do not harm the environment. They are metered dose inhalers like the epinephrine inhalers, so they are used the same way, but people should understand that albuterol inhalers may taste or feel different from the epinephrine inhalers they are used to, and they may need instruction on how to use them properly.