Primatene Mist Asthma Inhalers Being Phased Out Under CFC Rule

Primatene Mist, Armstrong Pharmaceutical Inc.’s over-the-counter asthma inhaler, will no longer be available after December 31, 2011, as part of an international treaty to preserve the ozone layer. 

The FDA issued a Primatene Mist phaseout reminder to consumers this week, indicating that time is running out on the availability of the epinephrine inhaler and that asthma users who rely on Primatene Mist should see their doctor about switching to a prescription inhaler.

Primatene Mist is the only asthma inhaler sold over-the-counter without the need of a prescription.

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The asthma inhalers are being phased out because they use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which deplete the ozone layer, a natural barrier in the Earth’s atmosphere that protects us from deadly ultraviolet rays from the Sun. The United States has signed onto the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which includes an agreement by participants to phase out ozone-layer destroying substances.

The decision that Primatene Mist would be phased out was made in November 2008, and the bottle carries a label warning consumers that it will not be available in 2012. No CFC-based inhalers can be made or sold after December 31, 2011.

Prescription inhalers have switched to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA), which is an environmentally-friendly propellant. However, none of those inhalers have been approved for over-the-counter use. The FDA recommends that those who rely on Primatene Mist should switch to one of the prescription products for controlling their asthma, or if they do not have a doctor or health care they should visit a federally-qualified health center, local clinic, community health center or similar venue to get a prescription.

Asthma affects 20 million Americans, including 6.5 million children. It is a chronic disease with symptoms like wheezing, difficulty breathing and spasms, which can severely limit activities and impact quality of life.

21 Comments

  • ChrystleJune 9, 2024 at 9:56 pm

    I am 53 I have severe COPD emphysema asthma I use privacy mist inhalers for 20 years probably and when they came out of the market I used them again or at least a couple of good years. I'm now about ready to have a lung transplant do we think permitting this could have had anything to do with me being so young and having such terrible lungs. I did smoke a bit when I was younger but I never smoked [Show More]I am 53 I have severe COPD emphysema asthma I use privacy mist inhalers for 20 years probably and when they came out of the market I used them again or at least a couple of good years. I'm now about ready to have a lung transplant do we think permitting this could have had anything to do with me being so young and having such terrible lungs. I did smoke a bit when I was younger but I never smoked drugs nothing like that just a few cigarettes probably for 10 years maybe and then I quit I no longer smoke. I don't have the one alpha Gene or whatever that is. I think private teen missed could have had something to do with my lungs being so bad it's such a young age.

  • JamieJune 16, 2014 at 12:51 am

    I need primatene to breathe PERIOD, the other shit does not work and although no one in government gets it - breathing is somewhat important...............

  • michaelMarch 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I really need money due to the fact that I can't work decent hours due to the side affects

  • JamesFebruary 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I had used this product for over thirteen years, and in 2000 was hospitalized for an Asthma attack. Ended up in a coma for five days and near death. After the doctor reviewed my history of Asthma the one common theme was the Primatene Mist. I have been searching since then to see if there was more evidence out there of this product being flawed, and just found this site. Also, I have my entire [Show More]I had used this product for over thirteen years, and in 2000 was hospitalized for an Asthma attack. Ended up in a coma for five days and near death. After the doctor reviewed my history of Asthma the one common theme was the Primatene Mist. I have been searching since then to see if there was more evidence out there of this product being flawed, and just found this site. Also, I have my entire medical record from my two week stay in the hospital during that near death stay.

  • kj alsethFebruary 28, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I also had a sister that was diagnosed with Black Lung after years of using this product. She also died after using this product along with another medication which caused her heart to difibrilate. As a cautionary tale, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...check with your physician before using any epiephrine based product, especially if you have any heart condtions or hypertension...save yourself, save your [Show More]I also had a sister that was diagnosed with Black Lung after years of using this product. She also died after using this product along with another medication which caused her heart to difibrilate. As a cautionary tale, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...check with your physician before using any epiephrine based product, especially if you have any heart condtions or hypertension...save yourself, save your family...

  • beckyDecember 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    my mom was told to use this product regularly though back in the late 70's early 80's I don't know if this is all that was available then or not but in the 90's when she had first gotten sick one of the diagnosis was actually called black lung on the paper work I know she never worked in a coal mine have been curious was this a result of this product?

  • BrendaApril 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    First and formost, GOD BLESS WE ARE AT THIS MOMENT TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THESE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS. I knew I wasnt alone. I have copd/chronic bronchitis/emphezema/asthma, hypertension, angina,panic attacks..My panic attacks are treated with oral meds daily, yet, if I get too upset, it effects breathing, and I too relied on primatene mist to make me breathe, through all my conditions, up to the [Show More]First and formost, GOD BLESS WE ARE AT THIS MOMENT TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THESE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS. I knew I wasnt alone. I have copd/chronic bronchitis/emphezema/asthma, hypertension, angina,panic attacks..My panic attacks are treated with oral meds daily, yet, if I get too upset, it effects breathing, and I too relied on primatene mist to make me breathe, through all my conditions, up to the point, I always kept one in purse, one close by in home and my adult daughter would keep bottle with her in case of extreme emergency, (if she didnt have time to find mine, she would be able to put her hands on the one she kept for me..) I am unemployed, no unemployment benefits, no insurance, dont know, if it wasnt for friends and family buying all meds, well, they would be paying for my funeral. I have looked on bottles that i have, and its gonna take a great magnifying glass to read the print, so I really dont know if the bottle carries the warning of not being available in 2012..JUST A THOUGHT. If it is so dangerous to the OZONE, AND WE ARE ..HOW FAR FROM THAT, ...WHAT DID IT TO TO US INHALERS, IT WENT RIGHT TO OUR LUNGS...I POSE GUESTION..IS GOVERNMENT SO READY TO PROTECT OZONE, WHILE MILLIONS OF US DIE EACH YEAR..DID PRIMATEEN MIST HARM MY LUNGS FURTHER, HOW DO I KNOW.. I CERTAINLY WOULDNT HAVE USED IT, ITS HARD ENOUGH.. I TAKE ALUTEROL BREATHING TREATMENTS 4-6 TIMES DAY, USE ALBUTEROL PROAIR 2 TIMES DAY, AND ALBUTEROL COMBIVENT EVERY 6 HOURS. HOORAY FOR ME...WRONG, I AM SUPPOSE TO, JUST CANT AFFORD IT. SO, WHAT DO I DO, WE ALL LOVE OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, BUT WHEN I HAD TO SPEND 280.00 FOR ONE PRESCRIPTIONS, I HAD TO START TAKING OTHER MEDS EVERY OTHER DAY...SO, I AM LOOKING FOR ANY EMERGENCY SITUATION TO ARRISE... I TAKE MY BP 4-6 TIMES ADAY, EVEN THOUGH DEATH IS AMONG ALL, WHY THIS... ISNT INHALING STRAIGHT INTO OUR LUNGS WORST THAN IT BEING EXPOSED TO THE OZONE........ YES GOVERNMENT SUX....AND I HOPE AND PRAY TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST TO ALL INVOVED.... ANY ADVICE DEEPLY APPRECIATED... I HAVE BEEN USING PRIMETENE MIST FOR 15 YEARS

  • JanApril 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I only work part time so have no insurance. The Advair the Dr. wants me on is almost 200.00 a month and the inhaler is also expensive. The Singulair is over 100.00 a month. Prednisone will clear it up but has nasty side effects. Primatene worked and was affordable. I am so sick of the Government butting in where they don't belong. And to think they want to control all of health care! That i[Show More]I only work part time so have no insurance. The Advair the Dr. wants me on is almost 200.00 a month and the inhaler is also expensive. The Singulair is over 100.00 a month. Prednisone will clear it up but has nasty side effects. Primatene worked and was affordable. I am so sick of the Government butting in where they don't belong. And to think they want to control all of health care! That is a scary thought!

  • TurtleMarch 1, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Something that EPA and FDA blithely disregarded in this process was the stone-cold fact that *albuterol does not work for everyone!* Combivent made me gag. Straight Ventolin (albuterol) either didn't work or took so long to work I was bordering on anoxia. Primatene works every single time, it works quickly, and hey, I'm the one inhaling the minuscule amount of CFC contained in the release!

  • MichaelFebruary 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    This is very thinly veiled extortion based on bad science. First, how much ozone would be destroyed by the miniscule amount in Primatene inhalers? Enough to deprive 3,000,000 people of a necessary medication? Second, if ProAir HFA--prescription--is allowed, why not Primatene using HFA propellant? Finally, the whole CFC/Ozone scam is bad science. Ozone, which is universally bad, dangerous and toxic[Show More]This is very thinly veiled extortion based on bad science. First, how much ozone would be destroyed by the miniscule amount in Primatene inhalers? Enough to deprive 3,000,000 people of a necessary medication? Second, if ProAir HFA--prescription--is allowed, why not Primatene using HFA propellant? Finally, the whole CFC/Ozone scam is bad science. Ozone, which is universally bad, dangerous and toxic, is CREATED by high-energy ultraviolet radiation interacting with the oxygen in our atmosphere forming an unstable isotope, O3. The best thing we could do would be to destroy this toxic crap before it poisons the entire planet. The thinning of the ozone layer is a result of there being less oxygen for the ultraviolet to interact with. (Thanks to the massacre of the rain forests--the "lungs of our planet") Where is the ozone layer the thinnest? Antarctica where there is no vegetation to create oxygen. Also, O3 is a polar (magnetic) molecule and subject to the Earth's magnetic field. All of this means there is no--nor ever was--any reason for the Montreal protocol let alone the discontinuance of a valued medication. It is a scam to force patients to use inferior, more expensive substitutes simply because they are prescription-controlled. It's a question of profit margin, people.

  • MikeFebruary 6, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Well i had to give in and went to the Dr. and he prescribed Combavent for my asthma and it kind of works, that is if you can keep enough breath going for the 5 to 15 minutes before it starts to work, not the 10 to 15 seconds that the primetene used to take and the result dosent last as long and dosent clear my lungs as well.! By the way Walgreens says that my insurance saves me $540.00 onthe presc[Show More]Well i had to give in and went to the Dr. and he prescribed Combavent for my asthma and it kind of works, that is if you can keep enough breath going for the 5 to 15 minutes before it starts to work, not the 10 to 15 seconds that the primetene used to take and the result dosent last as long and dosent clear my lungs as well.! By the way Walgreens says that my insurance saves me $540.00 onthe prescription ( thank god for insurance) and ther drug info. in the box says that this product contains CFS so that soi much for the lie about removing CFS from the market by Dec. 2011. So now Iam seeing a Dr. to get relief for asthma and got a med. that does little to releive it, paying mor for a drug that has more side effects and cfs and find myself closer to death every day. Thank God we have idiots in the government seeing to our best interest. They take good products off the market because 2 or 3 people die from them and leave life threatening items on the market for all to enjoy like ciggarettes beer wine and whiskey. I think its all about the money, follow the money! Look at the seat belt law! Wearing a seat belt has never prevented an accident but not wearing on makes thousands of dollars for our cash straped cities and states. Life is nothing more that a series of risk and I think that the people should be able to decide which risk are acceptaable to themnselves as long as it dosent effect others. Quit pulling good products of the market and let people decide for them selfs. In my county you can not buy most cold med. otc because they can be used to make meth. You have to get a prescription for them so it cost me money instead of punishing the meth labs, they punish everyone. I think that if they showed a public exicution of the meth makers and made a serious attemp to stopl the labs, those making the meth would soon realise the cost wouldnt be worth the risk.

  • DaddyDecember 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

    As you are aware, Armstrong is vigorously trying to maintain the availability of Primatene* Mist, beyond the phase-out date of December 31, 2011. Armstrong is also working very diligently with the FDA to attempt to get Primatene HFA, an alternative OTC (over the counter) Primatene* product approved as quickly as possible. Armstrong's main goal in this endeavor is to minimize the gap between the di[Show More]As you are aware, Armstrong is vigorously trying to maintain the availability of Primatene* Mist, beyond the phase-out date of December 31, 2011. Armstrong is also working very diligently with the FDA to attempt to get Primatene HFA, an alternative OTC (over the counter) Primatene* product approved as quickly as possible. Armstrong's main goal in this endeavor is to minimize the gap between the discontinuation of Primatene* Mist and the availability of Primatene* HFA. Armstrong has recently made contact with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has expressed interest in this issue. Due to patient outcry, Congress is currently investigating this matter and evaluating the potential risks and benefits of discontinuing Primatene* Mist on the sunset date. Therefore, Armstrong is urging its entire Primatene patient base to contact the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to express their feelings and concerns on this topic. Armstrong urges you to contact the House Committee on Energy and Commerce at: Committee on Energy and Commerce 2125 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: (202) 225-2927 Fax: (202) 225-1919 Email at: energycommerce.house.gov/signup/contact.shtml Alternatively, please contact your Congressional representative to ask him or her to pass the message to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • terryDecember 3, 2011 at 2:27 am

    this is bullshit what is the real reason they are they r taking it off the market if i was all of u guys as well as me i want to know becasue ive been using this since i was 14 im 42 now i dont used it alot but unless i have breathing problems it helps i dont have insurance because i cant afford because of the high cost of living groceries, light bill car payment , and extra i cant just go to a [Show More]this is bullshit what is the real reason they are they r taking it off the market if i was all of u guys as well as me i want to know becasue ive been using this since i was 14 im 42 now i dont used it alot but unless i have breathing problems it helps i dont have insurance because i cant afford because of the high cost of living groceries, light bill car payment , and extra i cant just go to a doctor it will cost me 120 a visit plus 50 for the inhaler what are they doing the goverment they r so fuck up they dont care about the people that cant afford to go to the doctor fuck the goverment

  • TracyNovember 10, 2011 at 4:55 am

    I have been using the primetene inhaler for over 30 years. the doctors discovered I had Asthms when I was 4 years old, I am now 45. I have a medical history! would like to talk. email is the way of communication.

  • gwenNovember 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    this really is so predictable. the otc asthms inhalers are keeping people from having to see high priced physicians and pay high prices for the prescriptions. I think this is so stupid.we live in a country that has refineries around every corner,millions of vehicles that emit smog, have you looked at the big cities lately (or should i say the dark cloud hanging over them)? this is just another exa[Show More]this really is so predictable. the otc asthms inhalers are keeping people from having to see high priced physicians and pay high prices for the prescriptions. I think this is so stupid.we live in a country that has refineries around every corner,millions of vehicles that emit smog, have you looked at the big cities lately (or should i say the dark cloud hanging over them)? this is just another example of our freedom as Americans being scraped away a little at a time. AND THE PRIMATENE MIST INHALERS are NOT cheap. what can one pump do to the ozone layer, REALLY!!! LOOK AROUND YOU.I'll bet our government has the medicine they need.have they ever had to try to work with asthma,play sports in school, or try to just sleep when you can"t breathe...but it doesn't matter...we need to make our doctors and pharmaceutical companies richer.

  • Shirley Your Not SeriousSeptember 29, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Cris, so why then doesn't Primatine just make a non CFC version of their product? I know it's fashionable to hate the government among the ignorant proles these days, but ask yourself why the "free market" isn't solving this issue. The answer is because the drug companies don't want people to buy things OTC and fix themselves. They want you to be forced to to see your doctor for every little thing[Show More]Cris, so why then doesn't Primatine just make a non CFC version of their product? I know it's fashionable to hate the government among the ignorant proles these days, but ask yourself why the "free market" isn't solving this issue. The answer is because the drug companies don't want people to buy things OTC and fix themselves. They want you to be forced to to see your doctor for every little thing. I don't see you angry with the free market though, big surprise. Shirley, I'm not sure about you, but most people exhale everything they inhale. Maybe you're different. Maybe you are an air head.

  • ShirleySeptember 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    How stupid You inhale the mist/substance You don't blow it out into the "air" Boy, how I wonder, about the morons, making decisions and running things in this country No wonder...........we are in the mess we are in.

  • Dr. TerenceSeptember 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Once again, The FDA shows they have no clue as to true access to healthcare facilities across the nation, especially rural communities. They need to approve HFA propellants for epinephrine and continue with an over-the-counter rescue inhaler. Not only have I treated asthmatics in the Emergency Department (and some have arrived DOA), I am an asthmatic myself. This will, no doubt, be the cause of [Show More]Once again, The FDA shows they have no clue as to true access to healthcare facilities across the nation, especially rural communities. They need to approve HFA propellants for epinephrine and continue with an over-the-counter rescue inhaler. Not only have I treated asthmatics in the Emergency Department (and some have arrived DOA), I am an asthmatic myself. This will, no doubt, be the cause of death for many asthmatics who rely on OTC Primatene because they do not have easy access to high-priced physicians and high-priced prescriptions, or a car or gas to get to a federally funded community health center. It's sad to see such a useful product pulled from the OTC market. It's happening all too often these days.

  • GarySeptember 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Of course an affordable alternative will "NOT" be made available to those who need it. Good luck to all who lack the means or Health Insurance to afford the new "EXPENSIVE" prescription brand. But at least you have the comfort of knowing you have helped to save the planet. What a SCAM !

  • IatrosSeptember 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    If HPA is NOT safe for the general public (not approved for OTC use), then why is it approved for prescription drug use before it is proven to be safe? As Mr Spock used to say, 'it is not logical, captain!'

  • CrisSeptember 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    This is the new form of human sacrifice on the altar of environmental religion. How may people are going to choke to death because of this? I have used Primatene inhalers all my adult life except for a brief period when I mistakenly thought the prescription variety would be better. Albuterol has a side effect called "paradoxical bronchiospasm" meaning it paradoxically makes one's asthma worse. Thi[Show More]This is the new form of human sacrifice on the altar of environmental religion. How may people are going to choke to death because of this? I have used Primatene inhalers all my adult life except for a brief period when I mistakenly thought the prescription variety would be better. Albuterol has a side effect called "paradoxical bronchiospasm" meaning it paradoxically makes one's asthma worse. This happened to me to the point where I was sucking on the Albuterol every ten minutes. I weaned myself off of it using the OTC Primatene. I rarely use it now but I am sure if I started using the Albuterol again, I would become dependent on it on a daily basis. This will be great for the lawyers. Go lawyers.

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