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Proventil vs Proventil HFA: What’s the Difference between CFC and HFA asthma inhalers)?
Before explaining the exact reason why most asthma rescue CFC inhalers are being transformed now into HFA-based inhalers let me write a few introductory sentences about penguins, ozone layer and sun radiation, because there is, in fact, a certain connection between asthma inhalers and all those above mentioned things (no, no – I am not trying to say that penguins use inhalers…)
 
The seriousness and obviousness of global warming and ozone layer depletion concerns have definitely increased over the past years. Now the melting of Antarctic ice raises significant concerns not only between penguins living there, but among many and many scientists around the Globe, who build pretty pessimistic prognoses on the future of Planet Earth. The only way for humans to prevent further development of the problem, which may lead to global cataclysm, is to stop depleting the ozone layer.
 
The point is that ozone layer, which protects all living beings on Earth from destructive ultraviolet rays from outer space, is depleted and exhausted these days. Scientists believe that the increased volume of emitted CFC or chlorofluorocarbon gases, widely used in many industrial processes, as well as in common everyday things, like refrigerators or air conditioners, is one of the causes of ozone layer depletion. Besides, the same CFC substances are also commonly used in certain medications, manufactured in the form of sprays or inhalers, such as asthma rescue inhalers, where CFC gas is used to deliver the medicine’s working agent right into the human lungs.  
 
The problem is that CFC is safe for humans, but it is harmful for the ozone layer. Raised concerns about depleted ozone layer made the pharmacists look for ozone-friendly alternatives, which could be used in asthma inhalers. Such alternative was found, and its name is hydrofluoroalkane or just HFA.
 
So, the one and the only difference, as well as advantage between older CFC-based asthma inhalers and the new HFA ones, is the new ozone-friendly substance, which is used to deliver the medication into the human lungs. The working ingredient, which provides the medicinal effect and treats asthma attacks, remains the same – in most cases it is albuterol.
 
Finally, what does such CFC to HFA transition mean for a patient?
 
First, using HFA instead of CFC-based asthma inhalers, one helps not only himself to prevent asthma attach, - he is also helping Planet Earth to regenerate its ozone layer and prevent collapse because of global warming.
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Second, new HFA asthma inhalers, such as Proventil HFA or Ventolin HFA, will work just the same as older generic albuterol or Proventil and Ventolin. The working ingredient, mode of action, effectiveness and safety profile of the medications remain unchanged. The only thing is that because of another propellant gas use, a patient may feel change in taste or spray force while using new HFA-based asthma inhalers.
 
Third, unfortunately manufacturers of asthma inhalers say that it is likely that new HFA-based products will be more costly in comparison to the older versions. That is obviously because the ozone-friendly gas is more expensive; plus most of the HFA-based inhalers will be brand medications, which have always been more expensive than generic ones.
 
Nick


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