What is an HFA Inhaler?

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An HFA inhaler is the most recent and environmentally safe inhaler used by asthmatics. Because these inhalers are now mandated in the United States, it is important that all patients with asthma understand what an HFA inhaler is, its impact and how to properly use one.

Function

An HFA inhaler is a fast-acting inhaler used during an asthma attack. HFA stands for hydrofluoroalkane, a propellant. Since they do not contain and therefore do not release dangerous CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) like older inhalers, HFA inhalers are considered safer for the ozone layer.

Use

Proper use of an HFA inhaler is extremely important. If used incorrectly, you will not get the proper dose needed during an asthma attack. The correct way to use your HFA inhaler is to inhale and squeeze at the exact same time. Hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling. This will allow the medicine to take effect.

Care

HFA inhalers can become clogged and can affect the correct dosing if not properly cleaned. Frequently check the small hole of your inhaler. If you notice powder buildup, clean the unit. Remove the medication and wash the plastic holder in warm water. Be sure to let the holder dry thoroughly before replacing your canister.

Costs

HFA inhalers range in price from $30 to $60. Because this is more than double the price of the older CFC inhalers, manufacturers of HFA inhalers are offering financial aid to patients through programs such as giveaways and coupons. Visit their websites for details.

Prescriptions

2009 marks the beginning of HFA inhaler use. This means that all old CFC prescriptions will no longer be honored. A new prescription will be required for your new HFA inhaler, so be sure to contact your doctor. It's likely that you will be able to keep the same brand of inhaler you were using before. Proventil, Ventolin, Xopenex, and the generic Albuterol are all available as HFA inhalers.

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