Asthma patients now have to use new HFA inhalers

By Anahita Monga

Asthma inhalers will now have to switch from the chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC, filled inhalers to new hydrofluoroalkane, or HFA, inhalers by the end of this month.

The change is because of an international agreement to make the Earth more environmentally friendly.

“CFC emits substances that damage the ozone layer of the Earth,” said Dr. David Lawrance, assistant director of clinical services at McKinley Health Center.

Both the CFC and HFA inhalers still have the same medicine, but the propellant has been changed. HFA is an environment-friendly replacement to the CFC propellants.

Lawrance said the HFA inhalers have no side effects on either patients or on the environment.

These inhalers, however, are much more costly than the older CFC ones.

Local Walgreens are carrying them for prices ranging from $20 to $40, said Robert Elfinger, sales spokesman at Walgreens.

“They are so expensive because none of the manufacturers are making the new propellants yet,” Lawrance said.

The older CFC inhalers cost about $5-$10.

Elfinger said there’s not much price difference, and they can go down depending on what kind of insurance you have.

McKinley Health Center is not carrying the new HFA asthma inhalers yet, but Lawrance said that if and when they do get the new inhalers, they will be available to students for the same price of $5.

HFA vs. CFC:

HFA inhalers are more costly.

They cost about $20-$40.

HFA and CFC work at different pressures, so with the HFA inhaler, one doesn’t feel anything when they inhale it.

HFA inhalers require special cleaning because the propellant leaves residue.

HFA is environment friendly.,/b>