Asthmanefrin fills a gap in category.
NEW YORK--Asthma affects about 20 million Americans, 9 million of whom are children. Because asthma causes the bronchial tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs to swell and become sore, it is especially serious for children.
Asthma is treated with two kinds or levels of medication: quick-relief treatment to stop the asthma symptoms and longer-term medicines to control and prevent symptoms.
A popular product with consumers who could not afford prescription inhalers was Primatene Mist, an over-the-counter inhaler from Armstrong Pharmaceuticals Inc. However, Primatene Mist was ordered off of store shelves by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency in December 2011 because it utilizes chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which decrease the ozone layer.
Last December the House of Representatives voted down a bill, known as the Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012, that would have allowed Primatene Mist back on store shelves.
Among the opposition were more than a dozen medical societies that argued epinephrine, the active ingredient in Primatene Mist, can cause adverse cardiovascular events.
Stepping into the breach is Asthmanefrin from Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. Asthmanefrin provides temporary relief of such asthma symptoms as tightness of chest, wheezing and shortness of breath. The active ingredient in Asthmanefrin is rac-epinephrine, which has been safely used in hospitals, pharmacies and doctors' offices for more than a century. Racepinephrine is an alpha- and beta-receptor stimulant that works by widening the air passage and making it easier to breathe.
Asthmanefrin is available in a starter kit, which consists of the EZ Breathe Atomizer and 10 vials of Asthmanefrin, and a refill package that includes 30 Asthmanefrin vials. The EZ Breathe Atomizer is a pocket-size, handheld electronic delivery device designed to spray liquid medication in aerosol form into the air.
"Consumers are looking for an O-T-C product to relieve their asthma symptoms," explains Will Dudley, product manager. "Asthmanefrin fills a large void in the market, and offers retailers an excellent opportunity to generate incremental income from lost sales of previous fast-acting O-TC asthma medications that are no longer available."
Asthmanefrin debuted in late August at Walmart, followed by CVS/pharmacy. It is also available at Walgreens.com as well as drugstore.com.