Proper use of the HFA inhalers is also causing problems. The new ones have to be primed first, spraying up to as many as four quick spurts into the air, if they haven’t been used in a couple of weeks. Also, they carry a larger risk of clogging.Patients are frustrated, and some are turning to unusual places for answers.
“If you don’t clean them regularly, they won’t dispense properly,” Williams said. “I carry one in my purse and in my car for emergencies. If I don’t take them out and clean them, then they won’t give out the right amount.”
Finally, Freudenberger said many patients can’t tell when the new inhalers are actually empty. With the CFC inhaler, patients could get a good feel for when there was still medication in the container.
“If you moved them back and forth, you could hear if any medication remained,” he said. “Also, you could put it in water. If it floated, it was empty.”
You can’t do either with the HFAs. When the medication is spent, there still remains some propellant.
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