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Maxair Autohaler

Goodbye Maxair Autohaler!

Maxair autohaler

The popular asthma inhaler Maxair will no longer be manufactured after December 31, 2013.  Maxair contained the short-acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator called pirbuterol that was used for treating acute asthma attacks similar to how albuterol works.  When the international agreement called the Montreal Protocol was passed in 1987 and enforcement began in 1989, this began the phase out of Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs) that contained chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) as the propellant.   CFCs as propellants (sprays) are substances that harm the environment because they decrease the earth’s protective ozone layer.  To read the FDA report on Maxair go to:

While other pharmaceutical companies changed the propellant from CFC to HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) in their asthma inhalers to come up with ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, Proventil HFA, and Xopenex HFA, the folks at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International did not (even though they had 26 years).

Why was Maxair Autohaler a favorite for some?  It wasn’t necessarily the pirbuterol active ingredient that was the advantage.  It was the delivery mechanism.  The inhaler automatically releases a puff of medication when the person breathed in—-thus, Autohaler.   This was easy!  There was no concern with coordination or need for spacers/holding chambers.

Other asthma inhalers that have met the same fate at Maxair Autohaler in the last 3 years include:

  • Alupent (metaproterenol)
  • Intal (cromolyn):  The nebulizer solution is still available.
  • Tilade (nedocromil)
  • Azmacort (triamcinolone)
  • Aerobid (flunisolide)
  • Combivent (albuterol + ipratropium bromide): At least there is a new Combivent Respimat available

At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we provide state-of-the-art medical care for asthma and including the most recent available pharmaceutical products with knowledge of the risks, benefits and nuances to find the right treatment for you!

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. 

  1. Rosesnn MattioliRosesnn Mattioli10-12-2014

    I have had asthma for years. The best rescue inhaler there was is
    Maxair. It saved my life more than one time. I swear by it. It saved
    Trips to ER. This has my panty hose in a knot. Of all the things the Feds
    Can get rid of to save our environment, they choose Maxair. Since there is no
    Alternative rescue inhaler that I can use, since I am allergic to albuterol
    Inhaler (Pro Air, Ventolin, Proventil) to mention a few. I am between a rock
    and a hard place. So I am protesting. I contacted everyone, stated my
    Case and deep concern. Sadly, the manufacturer of Maxair did not deem
    it necessary to up grade this wonderful drug so, that it meets US standards.
    If only there were other Pirbuterol drugs available. To my
    amazement, there are none.

  2. samarasamara01-04-2016

    I am in the same place as you. The propellants in the ones you mentioned like proair HFA etc all GIVE ME ASTHMA. I have some outdated Maxair Autohalers and I thing this is the best delivery system there is. I’m a nurse practitioner and for my elderly patients, this was the one they could handle easily. Let me know if there is something we can do.

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