Asthma relief soon to revert to Rx-only indication
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced that the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler sold in the United States no longer will be available as of Dec. 31 as part of an international agreement to stop the use of substances that damage the environment.
Armstrong Pharmaceuticals’ Primatene Mist (epinephrine) is approved by the FDA for the temporary relief of occasional symptoms of mild asthma. As part of the announcement, the FDA urged those who use Primatene Mist to see a healthcare professional soon to switch to another asthma medicine.
Primatene Mist inhalers are being discontinued because they use chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, as a propellant to move the medicine out of the inhaler so patients can breathe the medicine into their lungs.
“There are many other safe and effective medications to treat the symptoms of asthma,” stated Badrul Chowdhury, director of the FDA’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Rheumatology Products. But you need to find out if you really have asthma — not just pick another over-the-counter medicine, Chowdhury added. “If you have breathing problems but have not been diagnosed by a healthcare professional, it’s important to see one. Not all breathing problems are asthma, so you need to get an accurate diagnosis and the proper medicine.”
Many manufacturers have changed their inhalers to replace CFCs with an environmentally friendly propellant called hydrofluoroalkane, or HFA. There currently is no HFA version of the Primatene Mist inhaler.
Report: Busy Breathers backpack gains distribution in Colorado Walgreens
STERLING, Colo. — The value in enabling innovation and niche marketing at the store level was evidenced in a Journal-Advocate report Tuesday around the introduction of an innovative healthcare product that was picked up across three individual Walgreens.
The full report can be found here.
Armed with a $15,000 grant from the Huggies MomInspired grant program, Michelle Staley currently is building out her business around an oxygen-tank-friendly backpack called Busy Breathers, which would appeal to two prescription-heavy demographics — preemie babies and seniors suffering from COPD.
Staley was inspired to design the backpack to accommodate her son, who was born prematurely and required oxygen over the first two years of life.
In addition to propositioning Colorado-area Walgreens, Staley also is seeking distribution through oxygen and medical supply companies, according to the report.
The bag is designed for use by adults or children and can hold three cylinders of oxygen, with an opening for the tubing through the side, a rubberized handle, an "across the chest" strap with extra padding, two-sided zippers and a mesh opening to determine the amount of oxygen left in the tank. Suggested retail price is $39.99.
The website for the product is BusyBreathersLLC.com.
Bayer taps March of Dimes, Vanessa Minnillo for Girlfriends of Folate campaign
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday announced it is working with the March of Dimes and television personality Vanessa Minnillo on a public health message to help educate all women of reproductive age about the importance of folate and folic acid through a national educational campaign called Girlfriends for Folate.
DailyCandy.com also has committed to engaging its extensive membership of women to help spread the word about daily folate supplementation, Bayer said.
A new survey of 643 American women ages 18 to 45 years conducted by March of Dimes and Bayer found that nearly half of women (43%) were unaware of the health benefits of taking folate or folic acid daily. Further, 67% reported they do not take a supplement containing folate or folic acid daily, with more than half (52%) saying they don’t take a supplement containing folic acid at all.
The survey also found that women who were knowledgeable about folate were more likely to take a supplement containing folate or folic acid than those who were not knowledgeable (76% versus 32%).
"For more than a decade, March of Dimes has been committed to educating women of reproductive age about the importance of folate and folic acid,” stated Janis Biermann, SVP education and health promotion for March of Dimes. "According to 2001 data, nearly half of all pregnancies in the [United States] are unplanned. If all women planning or capable of becoming pregnant took the recommended amount of folate or folic acid before and during early pregnancy, it is estimated that up to 50% of [neural tube defects] could be prevented."
March of Dimes recommends that all women of reproductive age supplement their diet with at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Further, an objective of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 national initiative is to increase the proportion of women of childbearing potential with intake of at least 400 mcg of folic acid from fortified foods or dietary supplements — an objective that was not met in 2010.