FDA phases out inhaler due to environmental impact

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health officials are alerting asthma patients that a type of inhaler sold over the counter will be phased out at year's end because it uses carbon gas that depletes the Earth's atmosphere.

The Food and Drug Administration says patients who use the epinephrine inhalers will need to switch to other types of inhalers which are only available with a doctor's prescription. The Epinephrine inhalers subject to the ban use chlorofluorocarbons to propel medication into the patient's airways.

The FDA finalized plans to phase out the products in 2008 and currently only Armstrong Pharmaceutical's Primatene mist is still available in the U.S. Other manufacturers have switched to an environmentally-friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane. These inhalers treat the same asthma symptoms but are only available via prescription.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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