Over-The-Counter Asthma Inhalers To Vanish From Store Shelves By End Of Year

If you or someone you know uses Primatene or any other over-the-counter epinephrine inhaler for asthma, the clock is officially ticking before they disappear off store shelves. The Food and Drug Administration announced today that, in an effort to cut down on products using ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, these inhalers will no longer be available after Dec. 31.

For people in need of an inhaler for their asthma treatment, this only leaves prescription options like albuterol, which uses an environmentally-friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane.

“If you rely on an over-the-counter inhaler to relieve your asthma symptoms, it is important that you contact a health care professional to talk about switching to a different medicine to treat your asthma,” said the FDA’s director of pulmonary drugs, adding that most asthma patients use multiple medications and that removal of the OTC inhalers would only have a notable impact on “one to two million” Primatene users.

OTC inhalers to be phased out to protect ozone layer [MSNBC]