Recalls are always a pain to navigate, but when the recall is medical in nature and has to do with your family’s health, it can be scary. So don’t freak out, but if anyone in your life uses an albuterol inhaler, you’re going to want to find out if that inhaler was involved in the GlaxoSmithKline recall of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers. The company recently recalled about 593,000 inhalers because of some possible malfunction with the delivery system. The affected lots are 6ZP0003, 6ZP9944, and 6ZP9848 but isn’t a patient level recall yet.
The company issued the recall to hospitals, pharmacies, and retailers, so you shouldn’t be able to accidentally buy them. But if you’re nervous or feel like your inhaler isn’t working, you can call GlaxoSmithKline at 1-888-825-5249 with questions. You can also ask your doctor if you feel like something is wrong, or if you feel like your medicine isn't working as well as usual.
“There is possible risk that the affected inhalers could potentially not deliver the stated number of actuations," spokesman Juan Carlos Molina said in a statement, according to CNN. "We continue to investigate the issue in order to identify the root cause and implement appropriate corrective and preventative actions." Basically, if you feel like your asthma medication isn’t working, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible just to be safe. Even if it's just a false alarm, it's better to be safe than sorry.
The malfunction is likely the result of a leak of the propellent, which means customers would be getting fewer doses. According to CBS News, if it’s been leaking, there should be a little bulge in the packaging that you'll notice. It’s not dangerous to patients, which is why customers aren’t being asked to return any inhalers (rather, they're being counseled to throw them out). It’s a level two recall, which is defined by the Food and Drug Administration as any defect to a product that "may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote." The recall was voluntary and triggered by a number of customers calling in about the bulge on the packaging, indicating a leak.
Although GSK is investigating to find the cause of the leak and said that it would take corrective action once officials figured out what was going on, but the company is still producing inhalers at its factory in North Carolina. "We currently don't anticipate a supply impact to Ventolin HFA 200D inhaler as a result of this issue," GSK said in a statement. In other words, don’t worry that you’ll somehow be out of luck in an emergency.
Still, you should probably check your inhalers anyway, and call the company to ask any questions if you do happen to have an affected product. If all else fails, call your doctor if you or your family member don’t feel well. Because asthma definitely isn't something to mess around with.