Has Flovent HFA Been Discontinued? Why is there a shortage?

flovent hfa discontinued

Has Flovent HFA Been Discontinued? A medicine called Flovent that helps people with asthma was discontinued on January 1, 2024. The company that makes it, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), stopped making the regular Flovent inhalers. This includes two inhalers, Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus, which many people use for asthma.

People are worried about this change because it might affect insurance coverage. Not only this, but it also affects the supply of medicine and causes delays at pharmacies.

Sometimes, problems can happen when you try to get your medicine from the pharmacy. One reason is when the company that makes the medicine stops making it. This happened with a medicine called Flovent, which helps people with asthma.

But here’s the tricky part – not many people knew about this until December 2023, just a few days before it was going to happen!

GSK shared with AAFA that they’re discontinuing the regular Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus. However, they are believed to make a cheaper version called an ‘authorized generic.’ This new version works the same but doesn’t have the Flovent name. The introduction of generic versions is helping people save money. The generic versions work the same way and have the same medicine, device, and instructions as the regular ones. Generic Flovent HFA has been available since May 2022, and the Flovent Diskus version was in October 2023.

Starting January 1, 2024, they won’t make the regular Flovent, but the generic ones will still be there. GSK assures this won’t impact their ability to provide medicine. Also, they expect minimal trouble for patients.

The generic Flovent HFA is for people 4 years and older with asthma. They are working the same way but potentially costing less. The generic Flovent Diskus, also for 4 years and older, is similar and might be cheaper, depending on insurance.

GSK clarified that the list price isn’t what most people pay, and Prasco will help distribute the generic versions.

Why Was Flovent HFA Discontinued?

Flovent isn’t made anymore because there’s a new version. They stopped making Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus because there are new versions called authorized generics. Flovent HFA’s new version has been around since May 2022, and Flovent Diskus got its new version in October 2023.

You might already be getting the new version without knowing it. Don’t worry; the generic fluticasone inhalers and the new Flovent are still available. The same company, GSK, makes them, but they just have a different name on the label.

Are the New Inhalers as Good as Flovent?

The new generic inhalers are just as good as the old Flovent Generic. It means it’s not the original brand but just as good. The generic fluticasone inhalers are authorized generics, which means they’re made by the same company that made Flovent. They are the same as the old Flovent; they just have a different label. Another company called Prasco Laboratories is helping distribute them.

How Does Insurance Cover Them?

If you are used to taking Flovent, these new inhalers should work the same way.

Your insurance might change how it covers the new generic Flovent. Sometimes, insurance companies change how they cover new medicines. Some insurance plans still cover the new generic Flovent. But others might want you to use a different inhaler instead of the generic fluticasone.

You should check with your insurance to see if they cover the new version. You can find this out by looking at your insurance plan’s list of covered medicines, which is called a formulary. You can find it online or ask for a copy. If you’re not sure how to find it, call the number on your insurance card.

Remember, your pharmacy should let you know if any issues with your insurance cover the new medicine. They can also work with your doctor to find a solution.

Is Flovent Inhaler Still Available?

Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus are medicines for asthma. The company that makes them, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), stopped making the regular ones. But they are making something called an ‘authorized generic.’ It’s the same medicine but doesn’t have a special name.

What’s The Difference Between The Regular Flovent Inhalers And The New Generic Ones? 

The authorized generic ones for Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus are the same as the regular ones. They work the same way and have the same medicine (fluticasone). The only difference is they don’t have the fancy name on them.

How do you ensure you have medicine if you have a float inhaler at home?

If you have Flovent inhalers at home, here’s what you can do to make sure you don’t run out of medicine:

  • Call your pharmacy. They can talk to your doctor about getting a different inhaler for you.
  • Look at your insurance plan to see what inhalers they cover now that Flovent is gone.
  • Call your doctor’s office. They probably know about discontinued Flovent and can tell you what inhaler to get.

It’s better to do these things before you run out of medicine.

How Do You Use Fluticasone Nasal Spray Safely, and What Do You Do If You Forget?

If you get a nasal spray called fluticasone from the store, look at the paper with it. It will say how long you should use it.

  • Please don’t use it daily for more than 1 month without talking to a doctor.
  • If your doctor tells you to use fluticasone nasal spray, they might say you can use it longer.
  • It might take a few weeks for the medicine to help you. Keep using it even if you don’t feel better right away.
  • If you use fluticasone drops to make your nose polyps smaller, your doctor will say how long to use them. Usually, it’s for 4 to 6 weeks.

If you forget to use it:

  • Use it when you remember unless it’s almost time for the next one. Then, just wait for the next time.
  • Don’t use two doses if you forgot one.
  • If you forget a lot, maybe set an alarm or ask the person at the store for help.
  • Using too much fluticasone nasal spray or drops won’t hurt you. But if you’re worried, ask the person at the store or your doctor.

How Do You Use Your Medicine Safely, and What Do You Watch Out For?

To avoid a dry mouth, hoarseness, and infections in your mouth, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out after using this medicine. Don’t swallow the rinsed water.

Use this medicine regularly to get the best results. Take it at the same time every day. Don’t take more or stop without talking to your doctor first.

If you usually take another medicine by mouth (like prednisone), don’t stop it unless your doctor says so. Some problems may get worse if you stop suddenly. If your doctor lowers the dose of your old medicine when you start using fluticasone, it helps prevent issues. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you feel strange when you stop.

Clean the inhaler like your doctor says. Could you keep track of how many times you use it? Throw it away after you use the number of times it says on the package, even if it seems like there’s still medicine inside.

It might take a couple of weeks before this medicine works fully. Tell your doctor if you don’t feel better or worse.

What Is Inhaler Similar To Flovent HFA?

There are other options if you can’t get Flovent. If you need something else instead of Flovent, you can talk to the doctor who gives you your inhaler.

Flovent is a kind of medicine that you breathe in. There are other inhalers like it, such as:

  • Arnuity Ellipta (fluticasone) — it has the same stuff as Flovent.
  • ArmonAir Digihaler (fluticasone) — also has the same stuff as Flovent
  • Pulmicort Flexhaler (budesonide)
  • Qvar RediHaler (beclomethasone)
  • Asmanex HFA (mometasone)
  • Asmanex Twisthaler (mometasone)
  • Alvesco (ciclesonide)

And there are special inhalers that mix different medicines. Your asthma team might tell you about them based on how you feel and what your insurance covers. Some examples are:

  • Advair Diskus (fluticasone / salmeterol)
  • Advair HFA (fluticasone / salmeterol)
  • Breo Ellipta (fluticasone / vilanterol)
  • Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)

Final Words

With the discontinuation of brand-name Flovent HFA at the start of 2024, many wonder what this means for asthma management. However, there’s no need to worry. Generic Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus versions are now available, offering the same medication and instructions at potentially lower costs. These generics, introduced by GSK, aim to ensure continued access to essential asthma treatment. While the change may require some adjustment, it’s reassuring that options exist to maintain asthma care effectively.

It’s essential for those affected to discuss the transition with their healthcare providers and check their insurance coverage. Understanding the availability of alternatives like Arnuity Ellipta and Pulmicort Flexhaler can provide peace of mind in managing asthma symptoms. Remember, the listed price may not reflect what most people pay, as discounts and other adjustments often apply.

In conclusion, the end of the brand-name Flovent HFA marks a change. It doesn’t mean the end of effective asthma treatment. With generic alternatives readily available, individuals can continue managing their condition with confidence and affordability. It’s a step towards ensuring accessible healthcare for all asthma patients.

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