Come December 31, all albuterol inhalers in the U.S. will be a little bit greener— and a lot more expensive. The inhalers will stop using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that damage the ozone layer, and will be powered by hydroflueroalkane (HFC) instead. While the new inhalers will benefit the environment, they will also cost $30 to $60. CFC inhalers cost only $5 to $10.
The HFC inhalers will be strange to albuterol veterans— the medicine tastes and feels different, and the inhaler’s hole needs to be cleaned weekly to prevent clogging.
For asthma sufferers that are averse to change, non-prescription epinephrine inhalers will contain CFCs until the government cracks down in December 2011. But replacing albuterol with epinephrine is dangerous, as the non-prescription drug is less effective.
The change may not be palatable to everyone, but asthmatics should take comfort in the fact that their medicine is no longer destroying the ozone layer.
Photo Credit: neilt on Flickr under Creative Commons license
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