Is the New Primatene Mist Inhaler an Improvement Over the Old Inhaler?


Quick Answer

The new version of the Primatene Mist inhaler is not considered an improvement over the old inhaler, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected it for over-the-counter sales, as of 2014, reports About.com. The FDA cited that it clogged easily, had an inadequate dose counter, and was inefficient for asthma therapy.

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Full Answer

The original Primatene Mist was the only over-the-counter FDA-approved inhaler for relief of minor asthma symptoms, explains the FDA. However, the FDA phased it out of the market by the end of 2011 because the propellant aerosol contained environmentally hazardous chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Because CFCs damage the ozone layer of the atmosphere, the United States signed an agreement with other nations to ban their use. Other manufacturers successfully replaced the CFC aerosol with environmentally harmless hydrofluoroalkane, or HFA, but these products are only obtainable with a doctor's prescription.

Physicians do not recommend epinephrine, the active ingredient in Primatene Mist, as a good choice for therapy of acute asthma, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Other medications are more effective and safer in treating asthma symptoms, points out the FDA. Additionally, it is important that patients see a physician to diagnose their respiratory problems and not rely on over-the-counter medicines, as conditions other than asthma may also cause breathing difficulties.

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