ACAAI Announces U.S. Albuterol Inhaler Shortage

in Asthma, Managing Allergies, News
Published: March 20, 2020

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on March 20, 2020 issued the following news release about a growing shortage of albuterol reliever inhalers. Albuterol, also known as salbutamol, is a quick relief medication to help open the airways. See also this follow-up article: 6 Strategies During Albuterol Shortage.

A Message to Asthma Sufferers About a Shortage of Albuterol Metered-Dose Inhalers

Albuterol inhalers are in short supply.
Albuterol inhalers are in short supply.

Certain areas of the country are experiencing shortages of albuterol inhalers. The shortage will probably spread throughout the U.S., although it is not a production problem. The shortage is occurring because of the increased use of albuterol inhalers in hospitals for COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19 patients to help with respiratory issues. 

There is a concern that nebulizers used on patients with COVID-19 in the hospital could spread the virus in the air. But the possible risk is to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 – not to patients using their nebulizer at home as directed.

What Should Asthma Patients Do?

What should you do if you or your child are having trouble getting an albuterol inhaler? The recommendations below from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) offer practical ideas for coping:

  1. First, don’t panic. Check your inhaler to make sure it still has medicine.
  2. If necessary, you can likely use your expired albuterol inhaler as it is probably still at least partially effective.
  3. If you can’t get a refill on your metered dose inhaler, contact your allergist or healthcare provider as there are other options available which they can prescribe.
  4. It is important that you not overuse your albuterol inhaler, as one canister should last for months.

Related Reading:

6 Strategies for Asthma Patients During Albuterol Inhaler Shortage
Coronavirus & Asthma: How to Cut Risks and Keep Control
How Allergy Families are Coping with COVID-19 Food Shortages|
Allergy Shopping & Cooking Tips in COVID-19 Times