Breathe Easy

The Tipping List Breathe Easy Asthma Sufferers Wave Goodbye to Certain Inhalers -Tracy Morris  You’re probably all ready to switch the televisions in your world to HDTV, (unless you’re like me and thinking this may be your cue to pitch the boxes altogether.) Did you also know that 2009 heralds the end of certain types [...]

The Tipping List

Breathe Easy

Asthma Sufferers Wave Goodbye to Certain Inhalers

-Tracy Morris 

You’re probably all ready to switch the televisions in your world to HDTV, (unless you’re like me and thinking this may be your cue to pitch the boxes altogether.) Did you also know that 2009 heralds the end of certain types of asthma inhalers?

We wave goodbye now to readers clicking to a different story (not everyone has asthma, fortunately,) but for thousands of you, this is news that might literally affect every breath you take.

Getting environmentally righteous sometimes means a little personal sacrifice, and in this case, it’s your CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) inhaler. A lot of patients don’t know about this coming change, which has some people worried. CFC-free inhalers are already out there. Instead of the ozone-depleting CFC for propellant, the green-friendly ones use hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs), and they’re labeled that way. They’ll still deliver the goods – for those of you still reading who aren’t lucky enough to have asthma, these little breathing babies will literally save your life when under attack – but there are a few problems with the change.

For one big thing, the new ones are all brand name (not generics, like CFC pipes), which means they’ll take a larger chunk off your debit card. Another problem: while HFAs indeed deliver, they do so with a finer mist, meaning they’re more prone to clogging up. Also, HFAs must be pumped and primed more than CFCs, and a lot of users will mistakenly believe they’re not getting that airway-opening blast they need. Potential results: a lot of full canisters being tossed in the garbage and/or a lot of over-dosing.

Prescribing health practitioners need to do a bit of patient re-training on how to use the virtual lung life preservers. The rest of us need to start stockpiling our greenbacks to hand over to the pharmacist.


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