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Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on CFC-propellant albuterol inhaler products

TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2008 - FDA announces a Public Health Advisory to alert patients and their care providers about the need to switch from chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) and to educate patients about the proper care of the alternative products.

Tell patients switching to HFA inhalers that the new products contain the same medication as CFC inhalers but need more care because they do not use the same propellants. The HFA actuator must be cleaned under warm running water once a week; if it is not kept clean, it can become clogged and the albuterol will not be delivered. The devices also need to be “primed” before initial use. Inform patients that each time they receive a new HFA inhaler, they should press down at least 3 to 4 times to prime the device. CFC inhalers did not need to be cleaned because CFC is itself a cleaning agent. Reassure patients of the drug’s effectiveness, even though the spray may taste different or not feel as strong as that from a CFC inhaler.



Q: May a pharmacist substitute an HFA-propellant albuterol inhaler product for a CFC-propellant albuterol inhaler product?

A: Read the Joint Statement of the NC Medical Board and the NC Pharmacy Board concerning CFC and HFA Albuterol Metered Dose Inhalers.


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