The 1987 Montreal Protocol set out to control ozone-depleting substances and phase out the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by 2008. RT spoke with Dominic Coppolo, MBA, RRT, FAARC, AE-C, director of clinical strategy and development, Monaghan Medical Corp, Plattsburgh, NY, about what aefect the protocol will have on production of aerosols used in metered-dose inhaler delivery devices.

Q: What are some current concerns in the aerosol delivery industry?

A: Currently, manufacturers of pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) delivery devices are concerned with the Montreal Protocol, an international effort to control ozone-depleting substances, which would protect global public health and the environment. CFCs are ozone-depleting substances that must be phased out of production by 2008. They are used in the manufacture of aerosols, like albuterol, which is used in a pMDI.

Q: What does this actually mean for people who use MDIs or administer them to patients?

A: This is especially relevant to asthma and COPD patients who currently use CFC inhalants. Their physicians or care providers are transitioning to hydrofluoroalkanes or “HFA” MDIs and the difference in the two propellants is significant.

Q: As a manufacturer of aerosol delivery devices, how does the phaseout of CFCs affect Monaghan?

A: Our products were made to deliver aerosol from a CFC inhalant. Now, with the introduction of new HFA inhalants, we had to take a look at our products and see how the new formulation would affect aerosol delivery.  

Q: What did you find in your research?

A: Due to the materials used to construct inhalers in the aerosol spray itself, as well as in the valved holding chamber, there is a greater amount of electrostatic charge than with CFC MDIs. This means that drug delivery is affected. The standard plastic chamber holds a positive charge and the HFA propellant contains a negative charge; the opposition of the two can actually reduce drug delivery.

Q: How does Monaghan plan to resolve issues of electrostatic charge in aerosol delivery?

A: Monaghan has spent the past 5 years in research and development in preparation for the CFC phaseout. Our new antistatic valved holding chambers are the first chambers to have evidence of consistency over both CFC and HFA formulations. We have improved compliance and control over patient variables with new antistatic materials and are working to educate clinicians, physicians, and respiratory therapists about the effects of HFAs on drug delivery.