Do you use an inhaler to manage your asthma? Have you wondered why it doesn’t always work, why it’s so expensive, or if you should try over-the-counter alternatives?
If you are one of the millions of people who are using inhalers for their asthma on a regular basis across the country, you should know how crucial it is to have the correct medication and to use it properly. It’s also important to know that your doctor and your pharmacist are on the same page when it comes to your treatment. Your pharmacists at Smith-Caldwell are making it their responsibility to ensure you are well-informed about using your inhaler, managing your prescriptions costs, and finding the right medication.
The following are three essential things your pharmacist wants you to know about asthma inhalers:
1. How to Use an Asthma Inhaler Properly
Using an inhaler to treat your asthma is only effective if used correctly. It’s important that you communicate with your doctor and your pharmacist so you can recognize the signs of an asthma attack and understand how to use your prescribed inhaler. Together, you should develop an action plan that you can easily follow.
2. Why Asthma Inhalers Are Increasingly Expensive
In recent years, the composition of asthma inhalers has changed. They now contain a different propellant (which moves the medicine out of the inhaler) called HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) that doesn’t affect the ozone layer as previous CFC (chloroflurocarbon) products did. In 2009, the FDA required this change in order to comply with international ozone protection protocols.
These newer HFA inhalers are not available in generic form in the United States and are more expensive than the previous types. This is because every part of every asthma inhaler produced today is now protected by a series of patents, making developing a generic counterpart legally and logistically impossible.
Unfortunately, this can mean that a medication that is reasonably priced one month may dramatically rise in price the next time you refill your prescription. If you are unable to afford your insurance copay or the cash price of your prescribed inhaler, ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have any manufacturer coupons available for the drug. Some manufacturers offer online coupons that can be taken to your pharmacy to offset the cost of the inhaler. These coupons can sometimes even relieve all patient responsibility.
There are also patient advocacy groups and various community organizations such as the Partnership for Prescription Assistance that can help uninsured patients obtain the prescription medications they may not have insurance coverage for.
3. Why Certain Asthma Inhalers are Difficult to Find
If you are using inhalers for asthma, you may discover that certain types are not always easy to find. Drug prices are set during negotiations between manufacturers and third party insurance companies, making supply and demand the reason why manufacturers often under-produce or stop production of certain inhalers. This leaves some inhaler prescriptions unavailable or unaffordable, depending on the demand in your area.
For more information about using asthma inhalers in Arkansas, contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-392-5470. Smith-Caldwell is an independently owned pharmacy and gift store located in Benton, Arkansas. We provide convenient prescription delivery services and would be happy to consult you regarding your asthma inhaler prescription.