Wellness: Diseases & Conditions
Asthma: HFA Inhalers
Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) inhalers are the only type available today. If you've had asthma for a long time, you may wonder how these compare with your old inhalers. Here's what you need to know: HFA inhalers are better for the environment and just as good for your asthma.
Out with the old
Old-style inhalers use chemicals called CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) to push the medicine out of the container. When released, they reduce the amount of ozone in the atmosphere's stratosphere layer. The ozone layer in the stratosphere absorbs some of the sun's rays, protecting the earth from too much radiation. Loss of ozone can increase the risk for skin cancer, cataracts, and many other health problems.
In with the new
As of December 31, 2008, HFA asthma inhalers have replaced CFC inhalers.
The medicine in the HFA inhalers is the same as the medicine in old CFC inhalers. It is still safe and effective. But HFA doesn't damage the ozone layer the way CFCs do.
There are very few differences between HFA and CFC inhalers, and they have the added benefit of protecting the Earth.