1. Aschenbrenner, Diane S. MS, RN


* Primatene Mist, the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler, will be removed from the market by the end of 2011.


* The discontinuation is the result of environmental concerns.


* Patients using the product need to be switched to a prescription asthma medication.



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Primatene Mist, the only over-the-counter inhaler approved in the United States to treat mild-to-moderate asthma, will soon be removed from the market. The active ingredient in Primatene Mist is epinephrine, but the propellants employed in the device used to administer the drug are chlorofluorocarbons (which have been shown to impair the planet's ozone layer) and the drug is being discontinued because of the danger they present to the environment. Primatene Mist will no longer be available after December 31 and may actually become difficult to find in stores before then because manufacturing will be stopped. Nurses should ask patients with asthma whether they use Primatene Mist. Those who've been using the product will need to begin treatment with a prescription asthma medication.


Patients who have difficulty paying for prescription drugs can be encouraged either to contact the company that makes the prescribed drug and inquire about patient-assistance programs, which many drug companies maintain to make medication available at little or no cost to the patient, or to contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance: or (888) 477-2669.