Monday, June 11, 2007

Pulmicort discontinued?

Has anyone else heard that Astra Zeneca will be discontinuing pulmicort? Were they not making a profit on this? Anecdotally, I see a lot of patients on Pulmicort.

This is from The FDA site:

NDA 20-441, PULMICORT TURBUHALER 200 mcg (budesonide inhalation powder) will no longer be available at AstraZeneca.

The introduction of PULMICORT FLEXHALER (budesonide inhalation powder, 90 & 180 mcg), NDA 21-949, will be accompanied by the phasing out of PULMICORT TURBUHALER so as to minimize confusion in the marketplace.

AstraZeneca has no further plans to manufacture NDA 20-441, PULMICORT TURBUHALER 200 mcg (budesonide inhalation powder).

20 comments - CLICK HERE to read & add your own!:

Hildy said...

they're just changing the dose and delivery mechanism. I don't know how the flexihaler differs to the turbuhaler.

Smintheus Apollo said...

What is a patient to do to minimize disruption? This medication helps me breath. Anyone knows whether current regulations allow a pharmacy to dispense the new flexihaler in place of the old turbuhaler? (There must be a special place in Hell for 'creative' folks who so harass our language.) As an academic, I am seriously thinking of taking up a new field of research: Prescription Meds in the USA. Will this earn me some attention from the media and the pharmaceutical companies? Perhaps even discounts on my meds? Peace...

Anonymous said...

Not only have they discontinued the old ones, but they've changed the formula. The old Pulmicort had NO inactive ingredients. the new one has lactose and possibly casein - a milk protein. My son and I, both on Pulmicort, are both very allergic to that milk protein. If we inhale it, we will wind up in the ER. So a really useful drug has just become deadly for us.

Anonymous said...

My son is also severly allergic to milk and now can not take the new Flexhaler. I am so disappointed because his asthma has been so well managed with the Turbuhaler for about 4 years now. I don't know what I am going to do.

Gerardo said...

Most people have missed these. The max that flexhaler can deliver is 180 mcg per actuation compared to 200 mcg for the turbohaler. One puffer of flexhaler is good for 120 actuations compared to 200 for turbohaler. Bottomline is still nickel-and-diming by Big Pharma.

Paul said...

turbuhaler was my miracle drug. the flexhaler made me tight instantly. i thought i beat the problem by going through canada, but there must be different specs for the formula because i got sick right away.
now i'm scrambling to find something that works. a real nightmare.....

Anonymous said...

According to the paper work included in the box with my new Pulmicort Flexhaler, the delivered dose of both the older 200 mcg Turbuhaler and the new 180 mcg Flexhaler is 160 mcg from the mouth piece. It also includes the results of a study that shows the older turbuhaler does better in adults than the flexhaler (though I am not sure how significant the difference is). A second study with childern shows the flexhaler doing better than the older turbuhaler. ...I haven't tried it yet but hope my expierence is better than most have posted here!

Anonymous said...

This was my miracle drug as well! I currently take a boatload including Singulair, Combivent and Serevent along with my Pulmicort. My Pulmonologist gave me a sample and I just started it and can almost immediately feel a difference. I could go about most anything and am know feeling that difficulty in my chest. This is NOT good as I've tried Flovent and Asmacort and Pulmicort was the only thing in 7 years of asthma therapy that has worked. These pharmaceutical companies should be ashamed of themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You offer patients complete therapies and then because of the almight $$$$$ leave them to suffer.

Anonymous said...

We just recently found out about the change from the turbuhaler to the flexhaler. I found that we have gone from a formulary drug to a non-formulary drug in the space of a few weeks (Monstrous co-pays!!!) Not only is it hard to afford now, but I am afraid for my husband to use it due to the fact that they changed the formulation of the drug.

4 years ago he had a near-fatal asthma attack while he was faithfully using another inhaled drug. Pulmicort has been our miracle and now we are afraid to use it due to interactions and the fact that he is already on a fairly expensive regimen.

Sylvia

Bess said...

I have used Pulmicort Turbuhaler for 7 years. It was the perfect drug for me - I NEVER gave my asthma another thought. I immediately had a negative and allergic reaction to the Flexihaler, and have not found anything to take the place of the old formula. I've ordered from Canada, and await to see what I will be receiving from them. In the mean time, I am on oral prednisone and feel like crap. This is just insane. There must be something that can be done, besides suffering in silence while the drug companies figure out how to turn a profit without consideration of those who use their products.

Cathi said...

I am reading this with great interest... my daughter used the Turbohaler during her last 'flare season' and was switched to the Flexihaler during this most recently begun 'flare season'. I had thought that she wasn't quite as controlled as last year but then I was thinking that maybe I was just being, y'know, kind of worry-wartish. Maybe not... hmmm. I don't know if anyone will find this useful but there is a place that you can order from other countries and they are carrying the Turbohaler. I'm not to thrilled about going out-of-country for meds but we recenly lost our insurance and I just don't have much of a choice these days. The company is Value Pharmaceuticals. Most of the reviews I've read have been good. But it is hard to know. Any other opinions?

Anonymous said...

I am severly lactose intolerant. As soon as I tried the new formula my stomach reacted violently. This was my miracle drug for complete control. I have been trying Azmacort, but it is not working nearly as well. I have also tried Flovent and Advair without success. Are there any supplies of the old formula? THOSE WHO ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT NEED THEM!

Anonymous said...

We are going through the same problems with my 9 yr old grandson.He has a severe milk allergy (causes anaphylaxis).As a result of the change in the ingredients of the Pulmacort he is no longer able to use this inhaler.For a few years his asthma has been so well-controlled on his current med regime and now since the change to another inhaler he is having a recurrance of symptoms.I would advise anyone with similar concerns to either call or write to the pharmaceutical company expressing your concerns.The more calls /letters the better.

Anonymous said...

There is also I web site for AstraZeneca.Just left them an E-mail regarding this.

cahvah said...

My pharmacist was able to switch my prescription from the Turbuhaler to the Flexhaler just yesterday. I've been using Pulmicort for several years since Vanceril was discontinued. Since most now are packaged with either lactose or soy, (I am allergic to soy and very sensitive to lactose), Pulmicort was my last ditch effort. Now what? The patient information that comes with the Flexhaler tells you to keep your rescue inhaler (Albuterol) handy. Duh! The fact is these drug companies are aware that these formulations cause problems, but they do it anyhow. Must be that sales of Albuterol are down!

cahvah said...

For what it is worth, I have just written to my state representatives and senators, the FDA and AstraZeneca.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I both suffered from the addition of lactose to Pulmacort. Our doctor did quite a bit of research and switched us to a new inhaler called Qvar. After many years of success with Pulmacort we are happy to find a substitute that works for us.

Anonymous said...

This is really disappointing...we just got our rx refilled for turbuhaler and come to find out it is flexhaler now... I didn't know about the ingredient change until my son made a face taking it, and said he really did not like the new taste. I searched online to find out what was different and learned it is the lactose! Why oh why do they think inhaling lactose into the lungs is going to be helpful to asthmatics?? I called the company and they said it has to do with the lactose allowing for a more consistent dosing amount. Well that's all well and good, BUT, from what I am reading here, and from what my gut instinct is telling me, I'm not sure the switch to this lactose containing formula is going to be a good thing for my son. He is also acting more irritable as of starting it, and had diarrhea yesterday, so now I am going to be watching him carefully... I may have to take him in to see his doc to see about what other options we have... he had used flovent rotadisk in the past, successfully, but they dc'd that, so we ended up on turbuhaler and were pleased with the results. And now this... ugh! Why can't they just leave well enough alone... it's frustrating as a parent to see your kid's medicines dc'd, and to be facing the uncertainty of will-this-work or won't-it, and I'm also concerned about his lungs becoming sensitized to the lactose. I just can't see where inhaling something that is potentially allergenic, into your lungs, is a good thing over the long run... he's 11 now... [shaking my head in dismay...]

Anonymous said...

I was on Pulmicort Turbuhaler for over three years, it worked beautifully. Not one single flare-up. I've been on the NEW and IMPROVED? Pulmicort Flexhaler and have had nothing but problems since I started it. Respiratory problems, bronchitis, burning in my bronchial tubes is constant, and cough. My Asthma is NOT controlled at all anymore with this garbage that they call this new formula. It's not medicine it's poison! Everyone should call and write to Astra-Zeneca and state very strongly that "we want the old Pulmicort Turbhaler Back NOW or we will boycott ALL Astra-Zeneca medications!

michael said...

Astra Zeneca's switch has been a supreme frustration for me. The Turbuhaler worked like a miracle drug for me for over 10 yrs; I could tell the Flexihaler was NOT going to control my asthma after using it for only 48 hours. It's NOT the same medication, no matter what they say. And Asmanex is not doing the trick. I will now try Q-Var, as somone above mentioned.

Greed is, I suspect, the actual reason the Turbuhaler is not available anymore.

And I have written Astra Zeneca voicing my displeasure.