No more Primatene Mist in the U.S. after this year
September 22nd, 2011
01:56 PM ET

No more Primatene Mist in the U.S. after this year

The Food and Drug Administration is reminding doctors and patients that Primatene Mist, the only nonprescription asthma inhaler in the United States, can no longer be sold or prescribed after December 31.   Asthma patients are urged to get prescriptions for alternative medications, since this treatment option runs out at the end of the year, the FDA said Thursday.

Primatene Mist, an epinephrine inhaler, made by Armstrong Pharmaceutical Inc., contains chlorofluorocarbons, a chemical known to deplete the ozone layer.   After the United States signed an international agreement - The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - to phase-out the compounds, the FDA announced in 2008,  that these inhalers could not be made or sold in 2012.

"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 Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Rheumatology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Chlorofluorocarbons are chemicals that contain fluorine, chlorine, and carbon. With inhalers, they are used as a propellant to move the medication, helping the user to breathe it in. According to The National Library of Science at the National Institutes of Health, once released, the odorless, colorless and nontoxic compounds get into the Earth's atmosphere where they break apart and release chemicals that destroy the Earth's ozone layer. CFCs can last more than 100 years in the atmosphere.

The FDA says a number of manufacturers have already replaced their CFC inhalers with a propellant called hydrofluoroalkane  or HFA, which is more environment-friendly, but there's currently no HFA version of an epinephrine inhaler available. Epinephrine is a hormone that's used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. It opens up the airways in the lungs and allows patients to breathe more easily.

CFCs have been used in products like refrigerators, air conditioners, cleaning products and aerosols since the 1930s. Those products with CFCs were banned in the U.S. in 1995. They've been used in inhalers since the 1980s.

Chowdhury says asthma patients can continue using an inhaler that's not empty by the December 31 deadline as long as the expiration date is still good. He says HFA inhalers are safe and effective, but warns they may taste and feel different. "Talk with your health care professional to make sure you are using it correctly and getting the correct dose."

According to Chowdhury there are two prescription inhalers that still use CFCs. Those products are also part of the international agreement and they have phase-out dates of December 31, 2013.

soundoff (789 Responses)
  1. McJesus

    Who needs inhalers.. when you have Jeeeeeeesus

    September 23, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Asthma lifer

      Ventolin HFA is $16 at Target...EVEN WITHOUT INSURANCE..you will need a prescription though...hope this helps someone

      September 23, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Elaine

      I am going to ask my doctor about this medication. Thank you!

      September 23, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
    • Drummergrrl

      Get a life you twit!

      September 23, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
    • Voter1

      Ok, so people are going to suffer and possibly die in respiratory distress because they don't have insurance or the unbelivable amounts of money some of the current prescription remedies cost (Singulair 140.00$ per month) but the ozone layer with be better for it. lovely, bet the moron who made that decision forgot that you can still buy cigarettes and drive HumV's

      January 16, 2012 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
  2. YOMamma

    So you terds out there can afford cell phone bills, cable tv, and all the other extras but can not afford albuterol which is about 26 dollars without an RX?? ( EX Pharmacy Lab Tech here). Three trips to McDonals getting value meals will cost that much McLazys.

    Priorities are so out of whack it is not even funny anymore. But give the fine role models in government, I suppose it is hard to see the right from the wrong anymore.

    The FDA has gone wacko anymore as well. There are SOOOOOOOOOOOO many other things out there that are a billion times worse than this but of course they go after the smaller scale fish. Throwing your plastic wrapping from everything you buy is worse than a thousand inhalers all going off at once 2 inches from the Earths atmosphere for 100 years. Do the math on the content.

    We deserve whats coming....

    September 23, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yeahright

      3 meals at McDs or 1/2 meal at WholePaycheckFoods and 3 days of starving....hmmmm...

      September 23, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • Areyoukiddingme?

      YOMamma –

      This has nothing to do with laziness. Albuterol may only be $26 but the appt. with the dr. for the rx is $150. For those of us without insurance that's almost $200.

      You are right. Priorities are out of whack. Once upon a time people caring about others was a priority, clearly you missed out on thast one.

      September 23, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      They are more than $26 here in California. The last ones I got (we're all asthmatics) were $40 each at Costco. Not a problem for us, fortunately, but I have acquaintances who can't afford that, or the doctors appt to get a prescription. They are stuck in the middle....make too much for any kind of public assistance, but not enough to afford expensive meds.

      And while I'm at it, the newer albuterol inhalers kind of suck since they changed them a couple of years ago, also due to environmental concerns. So, they suck, but at least they're expensive.

      September 24, 2011 at 18:41 | Report abuse |
    • MyMamma?

      you are a dumbas$$. Let me guess (YoMamma) you have a medical card so you don't care. What about the MD visit to get the script? For you free, for others it may be $100. Talk about McLazy - you must have been too tired to think before you replied.

      September 24, 2011 at 22:02 | Report abuse |
    • Nitalynn

      "So you terds out there can afford cell phone bills, cable tv, and all the other extras but can not afford albuterol which is about 26 dollars without an RX?? ( EX Pharmacy Lab Tech here). Three trips to McDonals getting value meals will cost that much McLazys." YoMama my cell phone is a pay as you go that costs me about $10 a month, no cable and i haven't eaten at any restaurant even a fast food one in – well I don't even remember the last time. Luckily am covered so I wont have to be shelling out for it but I am certain there are people even worse off than I am that are not covered.
      I think the deaths from asthma are going to go up this next few years. I understand about protecting the ozone layer but you will have to go a lone way to convince me that there is enough being put into the atmosphere by asthma inhalers to make a significant difference.

      September 24, 2011 at 22:11 | Report abuse |
    • ashley harris

      Obviously a little late, but Im a CURRENT CPht....albuteral switched to HFA, theyre 35 a piece, and there are alot of people out there that control meds dont work for, therefore patients are going through them every 2 weeks, or for severe cases one a week. Primatine works alot better than albuterol, its more accessable (until the 31st), and just bc someone has asthma doesnt mean theyre lazy....

      December 22, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    This is truly scary. I remember times when I had to drive gasping for air to a drugstore just to get relief from Primatene. At the time I had no health care or insurance, and asthma sufferers aren't all fat.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      I second Mike's post...I also have driven in a panic to the drugstore to buy this so I would not kick the bucket. Well- just let me wait for an appointment...wait for my prescription to be filled....not everybody with asthma has the resources/skills that make it easy for me to get my prescription. Many will just go without and then keel over because we've saved the ozone. Many people have bad asthma because of the bad freakin air.

      September 23, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      True...all asthmatics are not fat. My daughter is 5'7" and weighs 101 lbs. She's fairly active, also....swims on a local swim team. Asthma can affect anyone...

      September 24, 2011 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      I really think convenient stores need to carry a nonprescription inhaler. I went away for Thanksgiving and forgot my inhaler. I had to call around to find a store open that night and was so relieved to be able to get an inhaler. It was a holiday so I wasn't going to be able to call me dr to get my prescription filled when no pharmacies are open. If it wasn't for this inhaler at the store I would have had to go to the hospital. These are great emergency inhalers and I'm sad to see them go... 🙁

      November 28, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    This seems a little stupid to me. Inhalers don't release *anything* into the air, do they? The person using the inhaler is *inhaling* all of the things that the inhaler releases. That's the whole point.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • YOMamma

      The FDA should inhale some of the poopies they are making everytime they try to think about anything... Then they can put on ban on their own thinking and finally be done with their stupidity...

      September 23, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The person inhaling also breaths back out.

      September 23, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • ouka

      On exhale all of of the CFCs are released to the atmosphere. Your lungs don't really absorb them, just the medication.

      I can't imagine that all of the CFCs released by asthma inhalers make up a relevant fraction of a percent of the old CFC-based machinery that used to be in use. Banning a cheap medical device for something as trivial as inhalers is myopic and smells of the same zero-tolerance nonsenses that have eroded this nation's ability to think critically.

      This topic also illustrates a flaw in traditional libritarian & economic conservatism – that the marketplace will always provide a solution where there is a demand. There is a demand here, for a cheap and environmentally-friendly inhaler. Except that the inhalers the drug companies want asthma users to buy these days are not cheap, and since they have a stranglehold on the market, are more than happy to see the CFC epinephrine inhalers off the market so they can boost their bottom line selling the costlier alternatives.

      September 23, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • Joyce

      I agree with you Brian, I have used Primitene Mist for many many years as I get bronchitis when I get a cold and it has worked well for me over the years. It is not that expensive and lasts quite awhile. THe main point here is it goes in my mouth not in the air. The inhaler does not leak out the fluid except in to your mouth. Makes no sense abou tthe ozone layer. Juar one more way for the medical profession and pharmacetical companies to make bigger money off of us

      September 24, 2011 at 02:48 | Report abuse |
  5. DaVuVuZeLa

    Good riddance to bad medicine. As an inhaler, Primatene was the most useless asthma medicine on the market. I tried it, and all it did was make me nervous and twitchy, leaving me with a bad buzz and I still couldn't breathe.

    If you need an asthma medicine, use albuterol or proventil, not this ozone-killing crap

    September 23, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jara

      Just because a med does not work for you does not mean that it doesnt work for other people

      September 23, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Cg RT

      Albuterol and Proventil are the same medication, one is the generic name and the other is the namebrand. One of the problems with Primatine Mist is that it can have a serious rebound effect after taking it that can actually be worse than the orginal symptoms you used it for. Which is why on the labeling it advises to seek medical attention after using it. I agree a cheaper alternative for asthma users who are unable to afford regular doctor visits and prescribed medication is needed, but Primatine isn't it.

      September 25, 2011 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
    • malfitt

      The point here, I believe, is that Primatene has been effective for a good many people for a long time. In a POOR economy, with a lot of people having little or no insurance, this may be their only lifeline. The FDA released the newer HFA-type inhalers (the ones you suggest) WITHOUT a serious study of side-affects experienced by the consumer. They did a SMALL usage study and decided it was "good enough". I have used these HFA inhalers and they make a lot of people (myself included) COUGH UP BLOOD. Would YOU settle for that? Please don't preach unless you know the facts....

      October 4, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      I have ues Primatene Mist for over 30 years. The one thing that all people that have trouble breathing know is you use what works. Albuterol sucks for me even though my Doctor said that that was the best. I think that it's like everthing else. The Rich want us to use their product, and they don't care if we die. My lungs have never shut down until I used Albuterol. I hope that the Primatene Mist Company do like they did the last time this happened, fix it and return back to the people.

      December 21, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  6. Jara

    This sux. My husband has asthma & sometimes forgets to bring an inhaler, so if has an attack now we have to go to a hospital?! Cause you cant just waltz into a pharm and buy an Rx inhaler you need a script. When is the FDA gonna approve the new emergency one? Screw it Im stocking up on Primatene.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yeahright

      Most people reliant on a life-saving medicine will take steps to assure they have it with them at all times. You wouldn't forget to bring a parachute on a jump !

      September 23, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Strange, you state that he sometimes forgets to bring his inhaler. So, how does stocking up on these inhalers help if he still forgets to bring it with him? Might be better to get an extra Rx prescription note to place in his wallet so he can get an inhaler at the pharmacy.

      September 23, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
    • Drummergrrl

      Anyone with asthma should be seeing a doctor and have it under control. There is Ventolin is the best rescue inhaler on the market. Primatene is the worse crap anyone could take. But then again I live in Canada and have insurance. No one goes without.

      September 23, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      Carrying an extra prescription won't work for long...if it's not filled in 60....or maybe it's 90....days, they won't fill it at all.

      September 24, 2011 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    Primatene is so bad, dangerous and harsh on the lungs that it sould be removed today. Prescription inhalers are so far superior and extremely less harsh that there is no comparison. I am a severe asthmatic and have nothing good to say about my experience with Primatene. Good riddance!

    September 23, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Just because it doesn't work well for you doesn't mean it doesn't work well for others. I've been using Primatene for more than 30 years, and (except for Advair) it's the most effective for me. Albuterol and Ventolin were next to useless when I used them, though they work well enough for my kids.

      If Primatene comes back on the market with HFA propellants, I'll be first in line to try it.

      December 28, 2011 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      My asthma is mostly dormant, but I use primatine when getting over a cold, etc. I cycle and after a Fall cold a couple of months back, I could barely breathe on my rides. I started using Primatine when it's a little chilly out and my breathing is no longer a problem. I agree that it is not for long-term use, but for occasional use, Primatine is the best by far. For those with chronic asthma, it would be like taking morphine for pain. It should be for infrequent use when nothing else works.

      December 29, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    Brian, your body doesn't absorb CFCs in the lung, thus releasing to the atmosphere when you exhale.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. DaveL404

    They did this with my cheap Albuterol rescue inhaler. It was generic and cost $5. Now because the propellant change, it is a prescription and costs over $50. So instead of having one at work, in the car just in case, I now have one. I guess the big pharma companies must be happy to take a simple substance like this and collect a windfall. I doubt it was concern about Chlorofluorocarbons got them banned. It was the drug lobby.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Christine

    What will the people without health insurance and an extra 50 bucks to visit the doc for a prescription do now? Die, I guess.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • winpep5

      An extra 50 bucks my a$$. Ten years ago when I was living with my sister just after she graduated and she had no health insurance. she got really sick and couldn't stop thowing up. I tried every over the counter antiemetic they had available in the pharmacy, but they where all really sugery and she would just throw them back up. After 36-hours I gave up and took her to a doctor. It cost us over $150 to see the doctor and it was the last little bit of extra money we had at the time until I got paid again. He had the audacity to yell at me about no bringing her in sooner even though she started getting sick late Saturday evening so his office wasn't even open until Monday. He then threatened to hospitalize her because she was so dehydrated, even though we didn't have the money for that, and then he gave her an injectable antiemetic that stopped the vomitting cycle and allowed her to start drinking liquids and she was perfectly fine within 48 hours. If they had had the injectable available over the counter then I could have tried this instead of all the useless liquid ones that kept coming back up. Many people who don't have health insurance and can't afford the trip to the doctor and the full cost to purchase their inhaler from the pharmacy are going to really suffer when this only over-the-counter alternative is taken off the market. It is just the greedy pharmaceutical companies and doctors trying to make more money, and the ones that will suffer us.

      September 23, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Boater39

      That's part of their grand plan.... No different than Nazi Germany. Those who are not PERFECT in the eyes of the chosen ones shall be exterminated...

      September 23, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
  11. CarDude

    CO2, Carbon Dioxide is used as propellant in most aerasols. I've heard of CO2 causing death if inhaled for a period of time, but the amount needed in an inhaler should be insignificant and safe. There has to be more going on than an obsolete propellant.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ButterSquash

      CO2 is a greenhouse gas, not a Chlorofluorocarbon. Greenhouse gas = heat trapping elements in the atmosphere. Chlorofluorocarbon = depletion of the ozone layer. The two are very different with different causes and effects. The article never mentioned the specific Chlorofluorocarbon, might be freon or something. Needless to say, there is no conspiracy...

      September 23, 2011 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • ButterSquash

      By the way, we breath out CO2 every time you exhale. It's not poisonous as our body makes it during normal respiration. I guess if you had nothing but CO2 to breath you would die of lack of oxygen. You must have been thinking about Carbon Monoxide.

      September 23, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • Boater39

      Yes, there is.... It's lobbyists money and big pharma....

      September 23, 2011 at 18:27 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Actually, if you look at who benefits from this policy, it's clear to see that there is indeed a conspiracy. We've taken a safe, decades old, effective product that saves lives off the OTC market AND the generic market. This makes only brand name scripts for said medicines available...meaning you MUST pay big pharma to live. Your life hinges on being able to come up with money for a Drs visit (insurance or no), your ability to get said medicine covered by insurance, and EVEN with insurance your ability to come up with the money to purchase the medicines you need to survive. Any time a cost effective, safe, generic or OTC medicine comes off the shelf and the ONLY replacement is uber expensive name brand meds that don't work (NO, HFA inhalers do not work as well) the American public looses out and big pharma cashes in – YES, politics that don't serve the American public were at play.

      November 8, 2011 at 10:32 | Report abuse |
  12. Maverick2591b

    Everybody's overlooking the huge issue here...what will all the geeks and nerds portrayed on television and in movies going to use? (I've yet to see ONE use anything else but a Primatine inhaler).

    September 23, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. The Doctor

    wow cow gas also is bad for the atmosphere – will they be plugging cows butts next – are they kidding me micromanaging inhalers. who is paying all these useless ozone watchers. I am sure we have things 1000-10000x more damaging then the inhalers

    the Montreal protocol yeah sure they are all adhering to this – no just the USA probably is. A huge waste of government resources and money belonging to these foolish agreements. this smells like BigPharma sticking it to everyone, money says they backed the people calling for the changeovers.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. holly

    For all the people who commented “I just need a few puffs a day to get me through,” PLEASE GO SEE A DOCTOR. I have finally gotten my asthma under control and do not need “a few puffs a day” on a rescue inhaler. Yes prescription rescue inhalers can be expensive, but once you work with your doctor to control your asthma, one can last you a few months, which in the long run makes it much cheaper than Primatene Mist.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Boater39

      The poor cannot think about long-term. It's AMAZING just how many out-of-touch people there are in this world. Live in these peoples' shoes for a few weeks and you may be enlightened...

      September 23, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      Yep, my daughters maintenance asthma meds are $150/month. We can afford it, but I'm sure there are PLENTY of people out there who can't.

      September 24, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      How nice for you that you don't "need a few puffs a day." I've been seeing a general practicioner and a cardio pulmonologist for 17 years. I take two prescription allergy meds, I take a Qvar maintenance inhaler, I keep a prednisone steriod pack and antibiotics ON HAND for any congestion flare ups. I have a nebulizer that I use religiously. November 14th, will be my 2nd visit to the Dr this month. EVEN with all that preventive maintenance, my asthma remains out of control and it runs my life. I absolutely require my rescue inhaler, a few times a day, every single day of my life. I'm so glad that your asthma is under control – by all indications and even with great effort on my part and the part of my Drs. mine never will be. So, before you give medical advice and rest your little head assured that all these people DON'T need a puff or several every day...think. Not everybody's experience and severity of asthma is the same as yours – GASP, you mean there's diversity in people? Wow! What a novel concept... TARD!

      November 8, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
  15. The Doctor

    Wanna stop pollution get rid of hot water heaters and go to instant on electric ones. 80% of homes would have a much cheaper electric bill. But then the plumbers unions would be up in arms because you need an electrician to install those.

    September 23, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RealityCheck

    Why exactly are inhalers offered by prescription only, anyway? What inherent danger does Albuterol pose that warrants its dispensation only by prescription, while epinephrine has been freely sold over the counter for all these years?

    September 23, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Benzuda

      It's about the patents. The FDA might not have any objections, but until the patent runs out the drug companies don't have any incentive to release the product over the counter. The changeover to HFA propellant renewed the patents, they're good for 7 years.

      September 23, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
  17. Terry

    This probably won't be published but.Let me get this straight.They are taking peoples medication away because it contains what can only be trace amounts of the chemicals but.They fire a shuttle craft through the ozone layer every time they launch into space which pounds right through the ozone layer leaving chem trails of whatever they are using for fuel right in the ozone layer?Ok that doesn't even come close to making sense.Has anybody ever even thought of what that fuel and the pounding of the shuttle is doing to the ozone layer.I didn't think so.I think they need to rethink what exactly is killing the ozone.Where is that hole they said?Oh yeah right in the south pole just about where the shuttle goes up as it leaves earth from Florida.Let me see 2+2 still equals 4 Hmmm.Nice.

    September 23, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Drummergrrl

      The mist is garbage it should come off the market. Plain and simple. Most people who are taking it smoke..with their asthma....that's why they cannot afford real medicine.

      September 23, 2011 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
    • Shel

      That's bullsh**** I have plenty of friends who can only afford Primatene....it works for them just fine. They don't smoke, just live in a polluted air city. You don't have to smoke to have asthma...many people are born with it. I was born with it, my daughter was born with it....neither of us have ever smoked anything.

      September 24, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Drummergrrl, you're mistaken. The drug is not garbage, it's effective and relatively inexpensive for people like me, I don't smoke, and have had asthma for more than 50 years. I've taken Primatene to treat it for more than 30 years, and it's all I've needed. I've tried Ventolin, which you seem to prefer, and that's crap for me. It simply doesn't relieve my symptoms like Primatene does.

      You're not compelled to use Primatene if it doesn't work for you, but please don't presume to speak for everyone.

      December 28, 2011 at 00:39 | Report abuse |
  18. whatabunchofbs

    I fail to see the significance of the minimal amount of CO2 being released by these life saving inhalers…believe me the HFA inhalers do not work as well, do not deliver as quickly and are much more costly. I usually have to take 2 – 3 puffs on my HFA inhaler vs. 1 puff on the old. It is all a scam to stick it to us and make everyone in power allot of money. I truly wish that the government/lobbyists/pharmaceutical CEOs would leave it to the scientists and doctors to decide how best to treat disease.

    September 23, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Benzuda

    Albuterol is a much better drug, less cardiac risk. They should approve that for over the counter. I was incensed when they raised the price because of the propellant change. It used to be generic and cheap. They shouldn't renew the patent on these because the propellant is different, the medicine is still the same.

    September 23, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shel

      Unfortunately, since the changed the propellant, the inhalers don't work as well.

      September 24, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Why do you think they don't put Albuterol across the counter? No one would buy it, because it sucks. It does not work for more people then it helps. They cannot compete with Primatene, so what do they do? They remove the product that works and try to make the American people take thier product that does not work by telling us it better. This game is getting old. The Government wants us to think they are doing us a favor, but like always the middle class and the poor are being screwed. I am going to fight to put Primatene back on the counter.

      December 21, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Albuterol absolutely suxs and has never worked for my Asthma. The new inhalers with HFA make my lungs bleed. But thanks to the flippin tree huggers I get to die from a formula that I was trying to avoid. Just wait till people are suing for millions because they developed blood clots in their lungs with the new hardly tested formula the FDA is shoving down our throats.Luckily, it doesn't matter to me. I have no insurance nor job so I will just have to sit home and die. I just got over a 5 day untreated asthma attack. If i can't get some kind of inhaler soon, I will have 1 of 2 choices. A: Lay down and die to appease the Government and the tree huggers or B: Dust off my gun and go rob a Pharmacy. Im leaning more toward B as I dont relish the idea of dieing to appease this utter bull.

      February 13, 2012 at 21:37 | Report abuse |
  20. Jeff

    Liberal green nazis strike again. All to save the world.

    September 23, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Boater39

      Yeah, by killing off it's human inhabitants....

      September 23, 2011 at 18:31 | Report abuse |
  21. Marty

    Many good questions have been raised in this discussion.
    No insurance? There are free clinics and sliding scale clinics everywhere.
    If you truly can't afford the medicine even with the prescription, the pharmaceutical companies have charity programs so that people who need their medication have access to it.
    If you're using primatene mist a couple of times a week you really need to see a doc, work out an asthma management plan, and keep your rescue inhaler (Ventolin, Proventil, ProAir, Albuterol) around for rescue not for management.
    Primatene Mist snuck through on a grandfather clause long ago and should not have been around this long.
    Misused rescue inhalers can have serious negative side effects, hence the prescription necessity.
    There's too much to this to go on, but there are solutions.

    September 23, 2011 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. tnmtl

    Chlorine gas depletes ozone, not CFcs. Chlorine comes out of the earth naturally, vastly eclipsing any man-made sources, like asthma inhalers! Ozone is not finite!!!! Ask a scientist where it comes from, and they will tell you from oxygen excited by UV rays. Its' being produced ALL the time!! It can never be depleted.

    September 23, 2011 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ileanastyles

    The FDA released a statement saying people using epinephrine inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbons should plan now to get a replacement product because they will not be manufactured or sold after Dec. 31. http://bit.ly/nHS8l6

    September 25, 2011 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. njt

    I've had an asthmatic condition for going on 28 years ... Advair is drug of choice – but the cost keeps going up, so I'm hesitant to buy - Primatene has helped me out more times than I can count over the years in emergency situations ... I am of the opinion that its discontinuance is based on greed, the FDA and just plain stupidity on the part of our medical community!

    September 25, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • malfitt

      Amen to that comment!!! SOMEBODY actually "gets it"!!!!

      October 4, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      I love how they are discontinuing inhalers because of the environment but are not making cigarettes illegal for the environment. Ridiculous.

      November 28, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
  25. Dr. Pete

    listen you whiners, just snort some Peet's coffee and get plenty of bronchodilation. It will do in a pinch while you are scraping up some cheese for a visit to the doc in the box

    September 26, 2011 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anonymous

      Can I please strangle you to death. maybe you can sniff some coffee while you turn blue and die. Dr Pete, would you last name happen to be Kevorkian? Do no harm was supposed to be part of your oath. Apparently you forgot the Hippocratic Oath.

      February 13, 2012 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
  26. bunnygirl

    I've used Primatene in an emergency when I've run out of my regular inhaler. Why can't they just switch Primatene to an HFA format instead of a CFC? Not everyone has health insurance or money for a doctor, unfortunately! Speaking of which, once the albuterol inhalers had to switch to HFA, in not only knocked out all the inexpensive generic albuterol inhalers it also doubled the price of the brand name ones - and many insurance companies stopped covering as many of them per year as they used to. Yet the generic HFA albuterol inhalers are begin manufactured by subsidiaries of the same companies that produce the name brand ones - they're just not being sold in the U.S. , you have to buy them from Canada.

    September 26, 2011 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • malfitt

      No CFC inhalers are available from Canada, Mexico, India or anywhere else! They are gone because the idiots that put together the Montreal Pact made damned sure that nobody could manufacture them after 2011. This was ALL based on Carol Browner and her den of thiefs and liars convincing everybody that the "MICRODOSE" in cfc inhalers would destroy the universe, when in fact, Carol Browner was in bed in BigPharma (the drug companies). Look into your facts.

      October 4, 2011 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
  27. Amber

    College student here with exercise-induced asthma. I'm a grader, which pays $8.50 piecework. I have insurance for the MD, but none for my prescriptions . . . which means my inhaler is now going to cost about $45. Maintenance meds are equally expensive. I agree with the person who said "the poor can't think ahead" . . . I'm at one of the top universities in the country, so I obviously know that preventative medicine is better than cure. But I just have to go with the cheapest (at the time), quickest option.

    I wish I could be more behind this, since protecting the environment IS very important . . . but sorry, when I face possible death from asthma, it changes my mind. Call me selfish if you'd like.

    September 26, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. sue ross

    cant afford anymore doctors what are we suppose to do stop breathing need my primatene not fair just gives doctors more money the poor and middle class are just getting by give us a break

    October 5, 2011 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Lisa

    To those criticizing people who can't afford their meds thanks to this FDA ban. I was prescribed ProAir – which I've taken before and doesn't work. It's $40 WITH my insurance. There is NO generic or alternative treatment now that CFC inhalers have been banned. $40 isn't that bad unless you also calculate the two Drs visits a month I make, the cost of Qvar inhaler (also not avail in generic), the 2 allergy scripts I take, the steriod Prednisone I have to keep filled and on hand, and the nebulizer and liquid albuteral to put in said nebulizer. WHEN all this can be replaced by a single $20 Primatene Mist inhaler. I'm a single girl, on a single income, a 31 year old corporate slave. I have insurance, I set aside money monthly for this and OTHER prescriptions. BUT the HFA inhalers DO NOT WORK. I don't agree that the minute amount of CFCs dispensed into the air (most of it going into my lungs) is detrimental to the environment at all.

    The Montreal Protocal was enacted back when ozone depletion was a hot button political issue, then it was global warming, back in the 70s it was global cooling. The public and politicos are wishy washy and changing...the fact that people with asthma will DIE without effective medicines is not.

    The FDA has put junk pseuodo science above the lives and quality of life of American taxpayers, who have and are following the FDA's and their doctors recommendations yet are suffering under the weight of this unjustice. I'm 31 years old and I do not belive I'll live to be 32. I see two different doctors – a general practicioner AND a pulmo-cardiologist, and I spend HUNDREDS every month on asthma and allergy meds – investing in what the FDA and my Drs have promised will help. It doesn't. It won't. Eventually I'll die from this.

    November 7, 2011 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Lisa


    For all asthmatics who have been negatively affected by the FDA ban of CFC inhalers – please visit my website and write to your representatives!!!

    Thank you!

    November 9, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. rick abney

    I htink this is so f+++++ stupid all they want to do is kill us people with astma why dont you band smoking.what do you think that does to the ozone-layer come on quit f+++++ with peoples health.Now we half to pay 60s doallars for and inhaler instead of twenty.Espcially if you dont have the inshurence.These people dont care because they dont half to shell out the money for an inhaler.Everybody is so worried about the effect it has on the ozen layer what about smoking,trucks that release burning oil from thier pipes.cars with bad muffler systems on them Etc,Etc Etc Thats what you should be worried about. Leave are inhalers alone.

    December 2, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Ricky

    I have to pay over $200 to go to a Dr. Than about $30 for the med. that part ok, but not to go C a Dr.
    My Ins. don't pay until after $1500 or $2500 is paid up front, than they well start to pay, so I loss no matter
    what and can't get no help either and I am 54, so I am going to buy some more primatene mist online before
    the end of the year, I got 3 now, well lets make that 2 after tonight and I am ordering 4 more this week, so I
    hope that last though the winter, I have no other way of getting anything else. So I just hope it don't kill me,
    but I got to have something to take so things well be better for a while. It not has good in no way than what
    the Dr. give me, but I have got to take it now, cause of the Dr. price, I don't have over $200 to C a Dr. every time
    I need some med. Any kind of help would be great, if anyone know how I can get it. God bless and U all have
    a great Christmas and A Happy New Years. Later............... 🙂

    December 20, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Old Salt

    It seems every time there is something that has been around for years and reasonably priced it gets taken off the market in lue of something more expense. Besides for me the Albutorol doesn't work.
    I don't get this. I have homeless friends who have asyma and Primatene worked great for them also. Why does it always seem that the government makes it harder and harder for people who have less. Not that I care about being wealthy but it would be nice to be able to live nicely on what I have.
    so I just have something else to pray for tonight.

    January 2, 2012 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. OZski

    I've had asthma my entire life. Growing up in the 50s there was no inhalers that I was ever aware of . I would be given some nasty yellow licorice medicine,Later on when I found out about inhalers an Primatene mist. I was always able to keep the wheezing an shortness of breath under control. I have tried the useless albuterol inhalers. And having to go through the Bull@#^$ with a doctor to get the prescription for albuterol.Plus doctors also prescribe steroid inhalers where you must rinse it out afterwards. Primatene always worked great I never had any bad side affects. Just relief.I do believe as others have stated that this is just so Pharmas an Docs can make $$$ with crap meds that don't workI hope an pray that primatene will be back soon..

    January 9, 2012 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. AW

    Wow, months after the story and I'm still seeing people like myself just finding this and posting. I've read a lot of the replies, and here's what I haven't seen very much of :

    The reason many of us started using Primatine, in the last few years, is because the HFA inhalers SUCK. They simply do not deliver the medication nearly as well.

    Doctors will tell you, "you just aren't using it properly" or whatever when the truth is, the HFA crap doesn't work. They tried to get me to switch over a decade ago when this started, I tried it – and asked for my old prescription back. Then a few years ago I was forced to switch when they stopped making albuterol prescription inhalers. I had no choice.

    As someone that has had Asthma for my entire life, all 33 years now, and tried every medication on the market – I can tell you – you can hold it any way they want you to, but the propellant sucks. The POINT before was that you COULD NOT take a deep breath (which is why you need the damn medication) so careful slow breathing doesn't exactly work when you are fighting for your life. Most of it ends up in your mouth, not your lungs. I have a good doctor who understands (you know, actually listens to the patient instead of regurgitating the joke of a FDA party line), but I have heard horror stories of kids explaining this and being told they don't know what they are talking about, it just feels/tastes different. Yeah, that – AND the fact it doesn't get nearly as deep into your lungs, so you have to take 2-3x as much, and since they COST 2-3x as much on top of it...we are giving them 4x+ the profit on our health.

    Besides the fact they simply do not work, and doctors tend to ignore or dismiss patients that tell them they do not work nearly as well, it's also about the psychological aspects of asthma. Some "I think I know it all" dolt below said, "Well it's like carrying a parachute, make sure you have one". This is someone that CLEARLY does not understand what it's like to feel like you are being choked to death by an unexpected asthma attack. Now, that panic sets in even more deeply and much quicker because, if something happens, an emergency, who knows what may separate you from the one sole inhaler per month most insurance companies allow you to have (which might be fine by amounts of medication your require, but is not so fine when your life depends on one piece of prescription plastic that can and does break), you are screwed. Before, you could at least get to a pharmacy or grocery store and know you could get relief until you could get to your prescription, or get it replaced if it's lost or stolen (and yes, I got mugged once ten years ago, and thinking he could get high, the guy took my inhaler as well). That was a nice safety to know was available, knowing that if you really needed it – it was there, even if you did have a prescription.

    The fact the medical community didn't fight this makes me sick, and is the other cause (besides insurance companies) why our country is such a mess medically. "Asthma is controllable, we want you to be forced to use what we tell you works, not what really may or may not work for you." They simply do not understand what it's like being an asthma patient, I've had an attack and dealt with an idiotic ER intern who doesn't understand how you can be on "controllers" and still have one, "did you forget to take it?" Because they think everything is so rote and clinical. American medicine believes that asthma is effectively"cured", that no one should ever have an attack if they pump themselves with all the steroids and other "preventative" stuff that you have to take every day for the rest of your life, filling the coffers of pharmaceuticals. I'd love for them to have just one attack – to really feel what it feels like to be helpless and unable to breathe, knowing if you can't get to an emergency room in minutes you could quite easily DIE...and they would think twice about supporting and not fighting against taking an entire class of medication away – without this inhaler on the market, and left with expensive inhalers via prescription that do not work for many of us, they have just made our lives a hell of a lot more worrisome and reduced the quality of life we were able to have.

    But pharmas make their money, the green-brigade who still drives gas guzzlers (ANY vehicle is a gas guzzler) feels better for taking my medication out of my mouth, and the doctors feel superior – until they lose a patient because they gave them medication that doesn't work.

    January 9, 2012 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. KENNY

    Why not let PM stay on the market until the new PM is ready ? The manufacturer of PM should come out and
    say how close they are with the new PM. Out of work for a while ,couldn't stock up,don't know what to do.

    January 11, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Autumn Conley

    Hey, I know...let's save the ozone while the human race dies off. The planet will survive, with no one to live on it. My husband has severe asthma, and this is not a statement about laziness, obesity, or any of the other narrow-minded claims that some hostile people have made on this forum. It means he has a medical condition that needs to be treated with medicine. We do not have enough money to afford insurance or doctor visits or prescriptions, but we have too much to get any assistance. So, when his inhalers run out at the end of the next couple months, the ones we were able to buy before they were pulled from shelves and the ones other asthmatic family members have donated to him, we will be making multiple trips to the emergency room, but at least the ozone will be okay while we're spending countless hours in an ER waiting room, stressing ourselves out and incurring bills we cannot pay.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. clyde jeffries

    I think who ever put a stop to people trying to protect their health , should have a lawsuit put on them for taking our right alway to live. And that is what they did. I can't afford insurance and still fighting for my disability. I was denied because at the time I was 46years old, that is what the Judge told me in writing. But all these young one that aren't disable gets their's and does a 100% more than I can . So this is to the Doctors who put a stop to us buying Primatene over the counter. You just done this to get your pocket fuller of every ones' money that we don't have. Thank you a lot for wanting us dead.. Hell is waiting on you people. I also think we all should file a lawsuit against these people for taking our health away from us. I will be the first to want to file one. You Doctors are to dam greedy. You should lose your money and homes for this treason against the Unite State People. I f have to go to the hospital because of this there is a Lawsuit going to be file for the invasion ofmy right to take care of my health , which has been broken by these people who are trying to fill up the Doctors pocket more.

    January 21, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Lisa

    This whole thing is Kafkaesque. You can't tell me there's not a more humane way to reduce depletion of the ozone. Hey, ignore the companies – go after the people who need inhalers to breathe. My God. As a person who has used this successfully for years – and hated albuterol – I am sorry to see this happen. But I'm sure certain pharmaceutical companies are pleased. I plan to buy in bulk in Canada.

    January 30, 2012 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Dawn

    I ran out of my primatene mist a few weeks ago and had to go to the Dr. for the 1st time in 4 years for an inhaler...After paying for my Dr. visit and my airpro inhaler I now cannot pay my rent and on top of that I cannot breathe!! I was up most of the night struggling with my asthma. I don't think I will make it without my primatene mist! I have no insurance so I am not sure that I can even keep buying the airpro which does not seem to work all that well anyways! My God what are people going to do? The government is trying to kill off half the population anyways and this will be a perfect way to do it legally!

    February 10, 2012 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Anonymous

    I think I am going to try and get the collective Anonymous together to launch an Operation against the FDA. I also might try to find a way to develop a class action lawsuit against the FDA for attempted murder. Personally, I strongly feel anyone who supported this ban deserves to be strangled to death. That is exactly what they have sentenced a large section of society to.

    February 13, 2012 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Michael

    The reason for pulling Primatine off the market is clear – you don't need to pay a doctor to get access to it. Unlike hairspray, etc the tiny amount of CFC propellant goes directly into the lungs – not the open air. Try to imagine the tiny amount of CFC in the atmosphere if all the users worldwide were to expend them at once? A tiny amount. Have them all stand next to the Con Edison plant in New York (for comparison) as they diid it!!

    Pharmaceudical companies fight OTC classifications of medications because they need to ptotect the people who push their drugs. Doctors gave other reasons to not use Primatine – albuterol is better, yada, yada, but the real reason is money.

    Pharmaceudical companies spend astronomical amounts courting doctors to promote thrir drugs. Don't believe the CFC argument. The amount of CFC released from the lungs upon exhale, into the atmosphere, is so tiny compared to other environmental polutants it is not worth mention – it is all about money.

    A person encountering an asthma attack at 2 AM cannot get a doctor's prescription. The only recourse now would be the emergency room at a hospital. Absurd!

    February 19, 2012 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. eric eli lesher

    They keep playing with peoples lives its all about the green backs . I've bean useing it for 45 years.I have insurance but choose primatene because its the only thing that works for me all the rest of the prescription meds don't work for me. I can breathe exhaust from cars polution from factories . Paint cans and the list goes on but yet they can't sell primatene so people can stay alive .middle fingers up accross the nation .

    February 19, 2012 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Paige Brennan

    What is wrong with these people??? Obviously, they are not asthmatics! I grew up with this disease! It is not easy! Primatene Mist inhaler is the one thing that will stop me from going to the hospital. I don't have to use it every day therefore the preventative inhalers don't work for me. In fact, they don't work period for other people as well. Those pills that they chose to keep on the shelves will give people a heart attack. I know because I had to take it once. I thought I was going to die because my heart was beating out of my chest. I would love put a blockage in their airways and give them a pill and see how they feel! I guess they are just trying to kill off the rest of America because that is what will happen!!!!!

    February 21, 2012 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Paige Brennan

    After reading the other comments, I realize that we are all saying the same thing. Who is going to stand up for us? This is going to kill us! I say that we all stand together! Who is with me? You can find me on facebook. We all need to stand together or stop breathing together!!!!

    February 21, 2012 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bennt

    They discontinue the inhaler because of the chloroflorocarbons? Yet, we have hairspray aerosols, car emissions and factories polluting the air, yet that little puff from the inhaler is destroying the Ozone Layer...the FDA are a bunch of idiots...

    February 24, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. SW

    Slap me upside the head and call me stupid but this is the most insane thing I've ever heard. And I just found out about it!!! No, not all people with asthma are overweight – I'm 122 pounds and 5'6". No, not everybody who has asthma smokes. I don't. No, not everybody who has asthma can afford to go to the doc every 6 months to be checked out and pay for the prescriptions (which are more than Primatine, I will add). I just got laid off my job a month ago. And lost my insurance. My asthma has been under control for years, with the help of Primatine, maybe, once or twice every few months (when the weather got funky and I got a wheeze and cough) or when I would get a simple cold (helps when I would cough – would keep my brochial tubes from getting too swelled up). It would prevent a trip to the ER when I would accidentally lose an inhaler, or forget one. You know, Murphy's Law – when that happens your once in a while flare up would flare up on you.

    So, as it would happen, just last week I feel a little constriction in my chest. Wheezing, just a little unconfortable. So I go to the drug store because my inhaler just happened to run out (because EVERYBODY who has ever had one knows that it's impossible to know how much is left in these things). And guess what? Not a one to be found? Really? So I go to the net and find out it's been pulled.

    Gotta say nothing will make you feel better as knowing that there is absolutely zero recourse but to go to the ER for a simple little relief. But, considering how much that little trip will take, considering my insurance policy (and my job was over after 9 years of working at this place) was gone, I decided to just be miserable and extremely uncomfortable and see if it will pass. Fortunately, it did, however it a very scary experience.

    I called my doctors office the next day but you know how that goes. The doctor is out until 7 days later so good luck until then.

    Just so the little bit of tiny flourocarbons don't go into the Ozone.

    Meanwhile, the idiots who decided to do this are flying around in their private jets, putting enough carbons into the Ozone in one trip to count for every asthmatic on the country to use Primatine for an entire year.

    Good call.

    February 29, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Matt

    This was an incredibly stupid decision on the part of the FDA. This will without question cause deaths mostly among the less affluent asthmatics in our country. I have no doubt this decision was the work of lobbyists hired by makers of albuterol. With primatine out of the picture drug companies will surely raise the prices of asthma medication. This is a travesty.

    March 9, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mike

    Look outside of this country for the medication. Here in L.A. the Albuterol cost 57.00 dollars at Savon and that is after you visit a doctor and pay his office visit fee. The exact same medication can be bought in Costa Rica ( for example) without a prescription and cost about 7.00 dollars. What this country does to it's citizens regarding healthcare is criminal.

    April 27, 2012 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Cheech13

    Looks like the new stuff is a hit! Way to go!!


    April 29, 2012 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.