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Montefiore in the News

February 21, 2024

Parents search for Flovent alternatives as childhood asthma inhaler production stops in US

Ahjane´ Forbes   USA TODAY   Feb. 21, 2024

Flovent, one of the most commonly prescribed childhood asthma inhalers, is no longer being manufactured in the United States.

This preventative medication is usually taken every day to help keep an asthma patient's symptoms under control.

Dr. Laura Conrad, an attending Physician in the Division of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, explains how Flovent was used to treat childhood asthma.

"Flovent is in the class of medications that we call inhaled corticosteroids, which we commonly referred to as controller medications," Conrad told USA TODAY. "These medications help to reduce inflammation in the airways of the lungs of children with asthma. This helps to prevent asthma attacks from happening, particularly when children are exposed to asthma triggers such as the common cold or allergens."

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the inhaler, took if off the shelves on Jan. 1 and replaced it with a generic version, Fluticasone.

Generic inhaler option Fluticasone is same as Flovent, a pediatrician says

Fluticasone Propionate, also known by the brand name Flonase, is a glucocorticoid used to treat asthma, inflammatory pruritic dermatoses, and nonallergic rhinitis, according to Drug Bank.

"Fluticasone is the medication in Flovent. It's just the generic version and the same medication," Conrad said. "It should be a one-for-one swap. The issue arises in what alternative therapies are listed on the formularies for insurance for the children. This is where things get a little bit more complicated."

Although Fluticasone is the preferred medical treatment, some factors like insurance coverage, medical history and severity of asthma symptoms can play a role in the type of medication children will receive. Some parents say their children are given other alternative medicines to help with their asthma that don't work as effectively.