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Daniel More, MD

New ProAir HFA Inhaler Has Dose Counter

By January 29, 2013

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ProAir HFA, one of the three brand-name albuterol inhalers available on the market for the treatment of asthma symptoms, has a new dose-counter that allows the user to determine how many puffs are left in the inhaler. Ventolin HFA, another brand-name albuterol, has had a dose-counter for years, while Proventil HFA is now the only albuterol inhaler without a dose-counter. Dose-counters for albuterol HFA inhalers are important because there is otherwise no other way to determine how much medicine is left in the inhaler -- and since these rescue inhalers are not typically used routinely, it isn't helpful to simply determine the amount of medicine left in the inhaler based on the amount of time that the inhaler has been used. In addition, a past study showed that 25% of people found their albuterol inhaler empty during the time they needed it most -- while having an asthma exacerbation.

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February 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm
(1) kate says:

I am puzzled – the last two Pro Air inhalers I have purchased, seemed to not last at all and what I did get out of them, was not anywhere near as effective as prior inhalers. It was noticeable enough that I bought the second one at a different pharmacy – same thing. My brother also has been prescribed ProAir and he had the same experience with his. I have switched to Ventolin (UHC covers it and makes it much less expensive). The Pro Air was a little quicker acting; but I’m doing ok with the Venotin – am just wondering what is going on with the ProAir? When you spend $50 as a co-pay, there should be something in it!

February 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(2) Brenda says:

I have also noticed a difference in the last several ProAir refills I picked up for my mother. These are the refills with the new dosage meter. Her insurance only covers these refills on a biweekly basis, and she was already needing to purchase one at full price to get her through to the next refill that her insurance would cover. She has had long term respiratory problems and was on Primatine mist for years – which by the way was much cheaper to buy and lasted longer, but I digress. Anyway, when the $65 refill only lasted two days it appeared that she was going through a weeks supply in one day. I am dispensing the new refill to her myself and found that when she took the first dose the meter didn’t register (still showed 200). It then appeared to meter the dosages correctly for a short time, but now we’re down to the meter showing 100. I’ve noticed that when she takes two puffs the meter may show more than a 2-puff dosage reduction. Someone needs to go back to the drawing board and get this correct, When the last one showed zero I threw it away, and it probably had medication left as the counters do not appear to be accurate. My mother is on Social Security and can’t afford to waste $65 every two days, which is how long the previous refill lasted.

May 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm
(3) Margaret says:

I was happy to see the dose counter since, as others have noted, the canister seemed to run out very quickly. Well, surprise! Today when I picked up the inhaler the counter show 172 doses. That seemed very odd since I only used it a few times. After using it and looking immediately at the counter, I saw it read 146! What the????? I am mystified. Why can’t they get this right?

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