How is your non-CFC asthma inhaler working out for you?
February 24, 2009 7:52 PM   Subscribe

If you recently made the switch from a CFC-propelled asthma inhaler to a non-CFC-propelled inhaler, how has it been? I've seen news reports that the spray is softer so you may not feel like you've gotten the full dose, and the inhalers have to be cleaned more often, and was curious to hear from people who've actually made the transition as I wait for my seasonal allergic asthma to kick in any day now. Any hints for making the adjustment smoother?
posted by mediareport to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've noticed a difference in the spray (definitely less forceful), but I hadn't thought about it much. The instructions say something about the cleaning, but I rarely use the inhaler (hateithateithateit, just like breathing more) and haven't run into that need yet.

I've cut down the amount I use at a time from two puffs to one due to an unpleasant reaction last year, and this coincided with the switch to the non-CFC inhaler, so I can't reliably say anything about the actual dose delivered. Maybe it doesn't hit quite as hard when it takes effect, but see the aforementioned bad reaction, so that's kinda what I'm shooting for anyway. I don't know if it's that there's a smaller dose or if it's just a slightly slower delivery.

Overall the switch is no big deal for me, but YMMV, especially if you use the thing more often than I do.
posted by dilettante at 8:18 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: I've made this transition - from generic albuterol to Pro Air. And it was (initially) as you describe - feeling like you haven't gotten the full dose. I always felt like I could feel the Albuterol/ventolin/proventil working, but the ProAir doesn't have any real noticable feeling - which was a bit alarming until I realize that it simply did the job. Also, around the same time of that switch, I changed my meds to include Symbicort which filled the role that Serevent had. Symbicort has been amazing for me (life long, serious asthma - allergy and exercise induced) and I've needed the Pro Air only about 1% of the time that I did while on previous maintenance drugs (2 times a month, maybe).
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:18 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: I made the switch to Pro-Air and the first couple of times, it didn't feel like I got the dose. But, I waited, and it indeed took effect. So now I'm used to it.

The biggest shock to me was the copay, of all things, because I didn't realize that it wasn't a generic. But, the pharmacist also filled out a coupon, so it was free.

I also love that it's red, so it's really easy to find when I put it down somewhere.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:40 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: Mrs Megafly finds it much easier to use with a spacer.
posted by Megafly at 8:56 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: Seconding the spacer. It makes the drug much, much more effective, and you won't notice the changes you're describing, since the drug is held in the chamber before inhalation.
posted by Gorgik at 9:04 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: Thirding the spacer. I know it might be overkill but I also think it helps to know when several people agree on a method. :)
posted by MsLgean at 10:09 PM on February 24, 2009

Best answer: I switched to the HFA inhaler a few years ago. It definitely takes some getting used to, but I like it better now. It is a softer spray and it doesn't feel cold like the CFC-inhaler. And maybe I'm crazy, but I think it leaves less of a chemically aftertaste as well. Overall, it's just a milder experience but has the same effect.

Also, I think it helped me make better use of each puff. With the old CFC inhaler, I felt like I could just take the puff without paying attention to my method. The sheer force of the thing made up for it. But with the softer HFA spray, I've trained myself to make the most of each puff. I guess this won't matter if you use a spacer, but I've never used one.
posted by mullacc at 11:32 PM on February 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm really glad to learn you can use a spacer with the new ones, and that it minimizes the change between inhalers. A nurse friend gave me one a few years back and it really does make a difference in getting the medicine in smoothly.

So, yeah, MsLgean, fourthing spacers. :)
posted by mediareport at 5:29 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: I changed recently and noticed the softer spray and also felt like I wasn't getting enough - I think that with the CFC version the spray just hit the back of my throat. But I got used to it very quickly and everything's fine. I don't use a spacer, but my asthma isn't terribly bad.
posted by poissonrouge at 1:10 PM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: I didn't like the new ones either, especially some generic one I got. Maybe it was the pro-air? I think it was the on-formulary drug, so it was $20 instead of the $10 for generics.

I switched to Proventil and it was much better. However, it is $35. Worth it to me.

But I definitely noticed a difference and mentioned it to the pharmacist, and he hemmed and hawed a little, and said "well, I have had a few other people mention that as well, but there shouldn't be a difference." But there IS something going on.

(There was a cool inhaler I got once, I think it was called MaxAir, that was breath activated. You pushed it down first, which primed it. Then you breathed in, which triggered the spray. If you didn't breathe in hard enough, it wouldn't trigger.)
posted by gjc at 6:28 PM on February 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, y'all; all of the answers were very helpful.
posted by mediareport at 8:28 PM on March 1, 2009

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