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Amphastar Pharmaceuticals makes the Primatene Mist inhaler, a nonprescription medication suitable for people with mild asthma. It is available from several pharmacies, online and in person.

While no prescription is necessary, it is crucial to consider potential interactions and other warnings before trying this medication.

Below, we provide detailed information about this inhaler, including where to purchase it. We also describe the warnings and when to contact a doctor.

Primatene Mist is an inhaler that provides temporary relief from mild symptoms of intermittent asthma, such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Learn more about the different types of asthma.

It is available without a prescription and has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, the FDA states that it has only approved Primatene Mist to treat mild asthma in people who have received this diagnosis from a medical professional. The inhaler is not a replacement for prescription medications.

Primatene Mist is only suitable for people who are at least 12 years old, the company, Primatene, explains. It only recommends the product to people who have consulted a doctor or pharmacist about its suitability.

Learn more about asthma medication.

The active ingredient in this inhaler is epinephrine, a bronchodilator. These drugs relax the smooth muscles in the airways, and this can reduce symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing and chest tightness.

Learn more about the different types of asthma inhalers.

In 2011, Primatene removed Primatene Mist from the market. At the time, this product contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which can deplete the ozone layer.

Instead of CFCs, Primatene Mist now contains hydrofluoroalkane (HFA 134a), a propellant that is accepted under international and United States law.

A 2021 study found that the new Primatene Mist inhalers that contained HFA 134a are as safe and effective as the old ones that contained CFCs.

Amphastar Pharmaceuticals is a company that manufactures injectable, intranasal, and inhalable products, such as Primatene Mist.

Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and Primatene do not have Better Business Bureau or Trustpilot pages. The inhaler’s Amazon page shows an average customer rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Positive reviews mention effectiveness, and several customers appreciated how much easier it was to purchase this product than to wait for their prescription medication.

However, people who left negative reviews reported a burning sensation in their lungs after using the product, and one person reported shaking.

Primatene notes that the Primatene Mist inhaler is only suitable for people who are 12 years of age or older.

A person should only use this inhaler if a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a pharmacist, has recommended it. It is also crucial to note that this product is not a substitute for a prescription medication.

It is also important to consider other warnings before purchasing this inhaler.

Primatene Mist is only suitable for people who have received a diagnosis of asthma from a doctor.

Primatene adds that people should consult a doctor before using Primatene Mist if they have ever needed hospitalization for asthma, or if they have:

Primatene Mist can increase a person’s heart rate and blood pressure. This can increase the risk of stroke, especially in people who:

  • have a history of a rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • use the inhaler more frequently than the company recommends
  • use a higher dosage than the company recommends

In addition, people should avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine and dietary supplements that contain anything that acts as a stimulant when using this product.

Primatene warns that people should stop using their Primatene Mist inhaler and contact a doctor if they experience any of the following:

  • worsening asthma symptoms
  • difficulty sleeping
  • a rapid heart rate
  • nervousness
  • tremors
  • a seizure

Primatene reports that people who take prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) should not use Primatene Mist. This includes anyone who has taken an MAOI in the past 2 weeks. Anyone unsure about this guidance should consult a healthcare professional.

In addition, people should speak with a pharmacist or a doctor first if they are taking:

  • prescription medications for asthma, obesity, or depression
  • any prescription or nonprescription drugs that contain phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or caffeine

The manufacturer does not sell Primatene Mist on its website. People can buy it at various pharmacies and other stores, including:

These prices were correct at the time of publishing.

The American Lung Association lists the following treatments that doctors may prescribe for asthma:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Doctors may refer to these drugs as corticosteroids or steroids. They reduce swelling and mucus production in the airways to make breathing easier. A person may need to rinse out their mouth with water after taking these medications to reduce the risk of a yeast infection developing in their throat.
  • Anticholinergics: This medication comes in a metered-dose inhaler and relaxes the muscles in the airways. Doctors may recommend these in combination with inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Antibiotics: Doctors may prescribe antibiotics if asthma flare-ups occur with an infection.

Learn more about asthma medication.

People should only use over-the-counter asthma medications if a doctor or pharmacist recommends it.

Learn more about over-the-counter asthma medications.

Anyone who suspects that they have asthma should consult a healthcare professional. Symptoms of asthma include:

Asthma symptoms can worsen, in what is called an “attack.” A person may be experiencing an asthma attack if, for example:

  • Using an inhaler does not ease the symptoms.
  • They are finding it difficult to breathe.
  • They are finding it difficult to talk, eat, or sleep due to the symptoms.

Anyone who may be having an asthma attack should sit upright and try to breathe slowly. If the person does not have an emergency, or reliever, asthma inhaler, they should call 911 or their local emergency number and ask for an ambulance.

The National Health Service states that, if the person has a reliever inhaler, they should take one puff every 30 or 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs. If this does not work or makes the person feel worse, they should receive urgent medical attention.

The below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Primatene Mist:

Is Primatene Mist safe for asthma treatment?

The FDA has approved Primatene Mist for the treatment of mild asthma.

This inhaler is only suitable for people with a diagnosis of asthma. A person should only use it if a doctor or pharmacist has recommended it.

Additionally, Primatene Mist is not suitable for children under 12 years of age.

What are the ingredients?

The active ingredient is epinephrine, which is a bronchodilator. It relaxes the muscles in the airways.

Primatene Mist also has several inactive ingredients:

  • dehydrated alcohol (1%)
  • HFA 134a
  • polysorbate 80
  • thymol

Was Primatene Mist discontinued?

Primatene Mist’s original formulation contained CFCs, a propellant that depletes the ozone layer. The manufacturer stopped issuing this inhaler in 2011.

Now, Primatene Mist has a different formula. Instead of CFCs, it contains HFA 134a, a propellant permitted under U.S. and international law. This new version is available at pharmacies online and in person.

Primatene Mist is an inhaler that can relieve symptoms of mild asthma. It is available without a prescription.

Before purchasing the product, discuss its suitability with a doctor or pharmacist. The inhaler can cause side effects, and is not appropriate for people who have certain health conditions or who are taking certain other medications.