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Special Report |

Safety of Over-the-Counter Inhalers for Asthma*: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs

Barry D. Dickinson, PhD; Roy D. Altman, MD; Scott D. Deitchman, MD, MPH; Hunter C. Champion, MD; for the Council on Scientific Affairs American Medical Association
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: *From the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, Chicago, IL. ,  A complete list of members and staff at the time of this report is located in the Appendix.

Correspondence to: Barry D. Dickinson, PhD, Secretary to the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, 515 N. State St, Chicago, IL 60610; e-mail: barry_dickinson@ama-assn.org



Chest. 2000;118(2):522-526. doi:10.1378/chest.118.2.522
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The occasional use of over-the-counter (OTC) epinephrine inhalers appears to be safe and effective when used according to labeled instruction by individuals with mild, intermittent asthma. However, gross misuse of these products can cause severe adverse reactions, including death. Limited survey data suggest that approximately 20% of individuals using OTC epinephrine inhalers have mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. According to recent consensus guidelines, these individuals should be under a physician’s care and receiving corticosteroid therapy. If these products continue to be marketed, labeling should be strengthened to better educate users about appropriate and inappropriate use of OTC epinephrine inhalers intended for patients with mild, intermittent asthma.


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