Difficulty switching from epinephrine inhaler to albuterol. Help please.

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New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/3/2012 8:48 AM (GMT -6)   
Due to not having health insurance, I have used the over the counter epinephrine inhalers to treat my asthma for about 15 years.  However, since they have discontinued the epinephrine inhalers, I have had to switch over to albuterol. 
When I switched to the albuterol, it was not giving me relief like the epinephrine was.  I used to only take the epi inhaler just before bedtime to help open my airways and sleep easier.  Other than that, the only times I would ever really need it during the day was when I would be sick or my allergies would act up.  However, with the albuterol inhaler, I am having to take it every 3-4 hours.
I re-visited my doctor, and she said a big part of the problem was that I had been on the epi inhaler for so long, and gave me Singulair.  Regretfully, she rushed out of the room before I was able to ask her what the problem actually was, and if it is something that is temporary like withdrawal, or permanent damage on some level.
So, I'm wondering if anyone else encountered a similar problem when the epi inhaler was removed from the market and they had to switch, or if anyone can fill me in on what the epi inhaler did that is causing this issue.  Whatever information anyone could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5022
   Posted 5/8/2012 9:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ascendant, and welcome to the forum. I can't answer your questions, but am "bumping" you to the top of the list in hopes someone will have experience with your problem.

I am intolerant of epinephrine and albuterol, so I can't take either.

New Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/8/2012 10:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Well thanks, I appreciate it.

I am very surprised that with the discontinuation of the epinephrine inhalers, there isn't more people who can relate to my problem. I figured with so many people switching, there must be quite a few people who experienced this. Anyway, hopefully someone will come along eventually, as it has been about 3 weeks now, and it still seems like it is not getting much better for me.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4415
   Posted 5/10/2012 8:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Epinephrine is a neurotransmitter and also is involved in the "fight or flight" response to stress. So this could be a dependency withdrawal issue.

Vitamin C and B-Complex vitamins may help compensate somewhat by supporting normal neurotransmitter production and your adrenals.

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Meds: Flagyl, Domperidone, Claritin, Singulair, Andrographis & other herbs, homeopathy, supplements, etc.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/27/2012 4:18 PM (GMT -6)   
With a very long term asthma experience I also am now also having difficulty since they have withdrawn OTC epinephrine, i.e., Primatine Mist and other similar, formerly available inhalers. The prescription versions do not work the same way and from all I have tried (dating back to 1972) they won't. Pro-Air, Ventolin, Combivent and other 'rescue' versions don't provide the relief that Primatine did. The prescription versions are for some reason not as effective for relief of attacks. The use of corticosteroids inhaled or not is, in my opinion, the WORST idea - despite claims that they have been 'reformulated' and are now better. In my opinion the lack of epinephrine is not a withdrawal issue. The action is totally different. With Primatine it was practically instant relief with no residual wheezes. Pro-Air, Combivent, Ventolin all reduced a PORTION of the wheeze only. There was still some tightness not to mention the racing heart and palpitations. Tedral controlled my asthma well for years but that is now no longer available either. Reading an interesting history of asthma treatment published in the New England Journal of Medicine - epinephrine was recommended for use in 1928 - and it worked well then. It is unfortunate that big pharma, and whomever else is involved or responsible for eliminating these medications that are harmful in their opinions can't understand that there are responsible patients who use the medications as directed. Apparently the majority of them have not spent hours in an emergency room getting treatment or awakened in the middle of the night gasping for breath. They should or perhaps let an elephant sit on their chests for a few hours and they may get an idea of what patients go through. Per Primatine's maker, it might be available next year pending FDA approval. I have called FDA with my comments. I suggest anyone who finds the existing drug arsenal lacking call and pressure them as well. Meanwhile I am researching alternative inhaled products and their availability in the US. So far no luck.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/7/2013 10:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I have used epinephrine inhalers since 1945. Before that I would need to rush to the doctor's office for a shot of adrenaline which would knock me out for the day. I also took pills that made me shake. I had allergies and exercise induced asthma. If I ran races at school it would be off to the doctor for a shot. If I was in a house with a cat I would start to turn blue and gasp for breath. I went to an allergist who gave me shots, but nothing worked. I started using a product called Selrodo which was a glass nebulizer with a rubber bulb.(My third grade teacher recommended it to my parents for she used it for her asthma.) You got a bottle of medicine which you could pour a small amount into the nebulizer and it worked automatically with just a couple of puffs. This was my first epinephrine inhaler.(No trouble polluting the atmosphere with this nebulizer.) They discontinued Selrodo and I used Bronchaid or Primatene Mist. Kroger even had their own brand. I stocked up on Primatene mist, but am now running out. A doctor prescribed an inhaler which didn't work and didn't help and my chest felt tight. If you don't have asthma then you just don't understand how the medications affect your breathing! When will Primatene be available? The other products just seem to make my asthma worse and the tablets make me shake. They say epinephrine isn't good for you, but have you looked at the PDR and see what all those approved drugs can do to you? How about all those t.v. ads for drugs that list all the side effects. Why are they picking on a drug that has worked for asthmatics for years. I have been using it for over 68 years and only as needed. I have never abused this medication and it has been a life saver for me!

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 10/21/2013 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I, too, used Selrodo, which I believe was prescribed for me when I was seen at the Mayo Clinic sometime between 1940 and 1942. My memory of it is that it was the most effective medication I ever used for asthma and produced no side effects that I or my parents ever noticed.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2015
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/22/2015 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I too used Selrodo for many years, since the '40s. For me it was perhaps a life saver but certainly a quality of life promoter. Asthmanepherine appears to be a similar stuff the can be used in an atomizer free of sulphur and propellant. Although I am somewhat concerned about the stimulation effects of epinephrine I intend the begin to reuse in occasional alteration with Xopenex allergens are running high along with high humidity. Hand powered bulb type atomizers are available and I have used them to administer Xopenex liquid form

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1011
   Posted 4/22/2015 7:15 PM (GMT -6)   
xopnex is just too expencive and there is no reason for it except greed! i have to suffer with all the terriable side effects from reg abuteral cause my insurance wont pay for xopenex. i used an asthma drug called marax which was sim to tedrol but taken off the market in late 80,s. it worked wonders . combivent was taken off the market due to its propelant ! not its drug content. stupid treehugers! best rescue inhaler i ever used.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 4/22/2015 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Combivent is back on the market in a more expensive inhaler. Most hospitals have removed xopenex from their formulary since the current research indicates that it is no better than regular albuterol just more expensive. There are new drugs available but all are very expensive. At our hospital( I'm a respiratory therapist with 18 years of experience) we use mostly albuterol and atrovent. In fact we just increased our albuterol dosage for pt in the ED. One reason the epi inhalers were taken off the market was there were a number of high profile deaths associated with their use.
Mom to 3 Maine Coon cats and 1 husband., Mac 62 yo and a curmudgeon, Spring 5 yo Queen of the house,Bee 2yo and 20 lbs. and our newest addition Cleo 1 year old and still all kitten.

Sinus surgeries 6 total including the obliteration of my frontal sinuses through a bicoronal incision. Result... Empty Nose Syndrome and "atypical facial pain" for going on 20 years.
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