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I am a clinical pharmacist currently doing freelance writing on various pharmacy topics. I graduated from Arnold and Marie Schwartz School of Pharmacy in 1988 with a bachelors degree in pharmacy. While practicing as a clinical pharmacist I obtained my Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) from the University of Florida in 2003.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is Using Asthmanefrin® Instead of Primatene Mist® OK?

Is Using Asthmanefrin® Instead of Primatene Mist® OK?
The new over-the-counter (OTC) bronchodilator (opens up the passageways in the bronchi and lungs) Asthmanefrin® (racepinephrine) oral inhaler is being promoted as an alternative to Primatene Mist® (epinephrine) oral inhaler. Asthmanefrin® inhaler doesn't contain chlorofluorocarbons, the propellant that led to Primatene Mist®'s removal about a year ago. Instead, it's a battery-powered atomizer (breaks drug down into a fine mist that can be inhaled by mouth) that creates a mist of for inhalation. For people with Asthma, making this substitution is usually not a good idea. Asthmanefrin® is shorter-acting and less effective than albuterol (Ventolin®, Proventil®). Also the new device in Asthmanefrin® can be cumbersome to use. It requires assembling the atomizer, adding the solution, soaking and cleaning the device daily, replacing batteries, etc. Asthmanefrin® is not a bargain. Asthmanefrin costs about $45 for the inhaler plus 10 vials, and about $25 for a refill of 30 vials. And each vial is good for only one day. Some albuterol inhalers cost about $50 for 200 doses. Patients should see their provider if they need to use any rescue bronchodilator (an inhaler to help difficult breathing immediately) more than two days a week.

Source: Monthly Prescribing Reference

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