Albuterol Inhaler Shortage: Could It Affect You?

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albuterol shortage

What is Albuterol?

Albuterol is a bronchodilator (dilates or opens up the bronchi)that helps with respiratory issues. It is considered a rescue or quick-relief asthma medicine. There is currently an albuterol inhaler shortage in some parts of the country due to COVID-19. This shortage is due to the increased allocation of albuterol inhalers to hospitals for COVID-19 patients. According to ACAAI, there is concern that the use of nebulizers on COVID-19 hospital patients could spread the virus in the air.

However, the risk is to hospitalized patients, not asthma sufferers using their nebulizer at home. You should continue to use your nebulizer as directed by your physician. If you have concerns about using the nebulizer around your family, find an empty area of your home where the air is not easily circulated. Also, be sure to clean and sanitize your nebulizer after each use.  The goal in treating asthmatics is to give preventative medicines to minimize the need for albuterol as a rescue treatment. It is important to see your allergist regularly to fine-tune your asthma treatment so you are not dependent on albuterol. The NY Allergy and Sinus Centers recognize this and are open in order to be able to treat our patients. Uncontrolled asthma is a risk factor for bad outcomes from COVID-19 so now, more than ever, it’s important to optimally treat your asthma. Call us at 212-686-6321 to arrange an appointment. Either in the office or through our telemedicine portal. Our allergy and asthma experts are available to make sure you are breathing well. 

What Does The Albuterol Shortage Mean for Asthma Sufferers?

Because of this shortage, you may experience a delay in getting your albuterol prescription. In some cases, it could take up to a week for the pharmacy to replenish its supply. If you suffer from severe asthma, you may have to rely on other medications to manage your symptoms. The allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers are available to help you during this time of need. We offer a variety of treatment options to manage your asthma.  Call us or visit us online at and make an in-office or telemedicine appointment to fine-tune your asthma and allergies. Allergy testing will help identify your triggers and help us better manage your allergies and asthma symptoms. 

It’s also important to control allergies that could trigger asthma. If possible, avoid dust, animal dander, pollen, mold, and tobacco smoke which are major irritants and triggers of asthma symptoms. Continue your allergy treatment as directed by our allergists. 

What to Do If You Can’t Get An Albuterol Inhaler

First, don’t panic. Panicking worsens symptoms and could cause an asthma or panic attack. If your pharmacy doesn’t have your albuterol inhaler prescription available, talk to your physician about prescribing a nebulizer for use at home. You can also ask about an alternative medication. In response to inhaler shortages, the FDA has recently approved a generic asthma inhaler for patients that can’t get their regular medication. 

Do not overuse your albuterol inhaler. Use your medication only when needed. If necessary, you can likely use your expired albuterol inhaler as it is probably still at least partially effective. For a refill or new prescription of asthma medication, call NY Allergy & Sinus Centers at (212) 686-6321.

Meet the Physician Collaborator

Dr. Morris Nejat is the medical director of the NY Allergy and Sinus Centers and specializes in hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, and food allergies. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Nejat or one of our other allergists by calling 212-686-6321 or book an appointment online through our website. The NY Allergy and Sinus Centers has 6 convenient locations in Manhattan and Queens.