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Call for OTC availability of safer asthma rescue inhalers

Availability of inhalers that would offer safer and more effective rescue therapy for asthmatic patients over-the-counter (OTC) is necessary and important, suggests an editorial by medical experts published in JAMA in its recent edition. The lead author, William B. Feldman, an associate physician in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Brigham and Harvard Medical School, wrote that epinephrine inhalers which are non guideline-recommended are available OTC for the treatment of asthma symptoms while safer and effective alternatives remain out of reach. He also pointed out that the only FDA-approved OTC inhaler currently available to manage asthma symptoms is Primatene Mist (Amphastar Pharmaceuticals), an inhaled epinephrine product that was approved in 2018. Stressing the need for OTC availability of inhaled albuterol, the editorial said that such products should be ensured for its greater pulmonary selectivity and less cardiac risk than epinephrine.

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