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Medical Messages

Welcome to our Medical Director message section. From time to time, I will post topically relevant issues concerning asthma and other respiratory diseases. While the focus will often relate to high-risk populations, it is my hope these messages will be of value for the general population of individuals with respiratory disease and the providers who care for them. I will also invite notable thought leaders in various areas to utilize this section as well from time to time.

If you are new to the NOML website, I thank you for your interest. NOML is a 501c3 organization dedicated to addressing disparities in morbidity and mortality attributable to asthma and other respiratory diseases among high-risk populations to include minorities, the poor and children. In addition to the information and educational materials you will find on our website, NOML also provides free live programs of education, screening, counseling, referral and follow up case management in partnership with local communities of faith in metropolitan Atlanta. NOML also travels to other cities around the US to train local teams to replicate this model. NOML has screened over 5000 participants in 140 programs offered in our Atlanta base and now has 13 expansion cities around the US where local teams have been trained to replicate our innovative model.

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Ask The Doctor

Medical Message by: Dr. Mary Cataletto
Date: February 1, 2012

Primetene Mist has been available over the counter for many years. Doesn’t that mean it’s safe to use. Why can’t I buy it anymore?

Doctors and other healthcare providers have known for many years that there are better and more effective options for the relief of acute asthma symptoms than Primetene Mist. But each of these requires a prescription. And a prescription requires a healthcare provider to evaluate you, provide a diagnosis and oversee your treatment.

Some have thought, as you have that drugs sold without a prescription are safe. This is not necessarily true. All medications have the potential for side effects. Purchase without a prescription does not make a drug safer nor does it make it less effective. At the present time, none of the asthma guidelines recommend the use of epinephrine inhalers, such as Primetene Mist for use in the relief of acute asthma symptoms.

The decision to phase out CFC inhalers was made back in 2006 and Primetene Mist inhalers have carried a notice about the phase out date. As of December 31, 2011 the manufacture and sale of epinephrine inhalers was discontinued because they contain chloroflurocarbons. These substances have been used as coolants for refrigerators, electronic cleaning solvents and propellants for metered dose inhalers. When it was found that these substances were involved in depleting the ozone layer, an international group agreed to ban these products and replace them with a more “ environmentally friendly propellant “ known as hydrofluoroalkane (HFA).

Individuals with asthma who were using Primetene for symptom relief should contact their healthcare providers to discuss alternative medications.