The British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has recently issued a recall of nearly 600,000 albuterol inhalers, according to KTLA 5 News. A spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline stated that,“There is possible risk that the affected inhalers could potentially not deliver the stated number of actuations. We continue to investigate the issue in order to identify the root cause and implement appropriate corrective and preventative actions.” The potentially fatal issue stems from a flaw in the delivery system, not the drug itself. The inhaler may have problems delivering an accurate dose of albuterol sulfate solution, which is a beta-2-Agonist. An asthma attack without an albuterol rescue inhaler can be fatal. Three of the company’s lot numbers (6ZP0003, 6ZP9944, and 6ZP9848) of Ventolin HFA 200D inhalers were previously issued nationwide, and are being recalled from all retail stores, hospitals, pharmacies, and wholesalers. The company has not issued a recall of the 590,000 inhalers to individual consumers, however. Those with an inhaler that was part of the lots listed above should contact GlaxoSmithKline immediately, and if they were left with a malfunctioning inhaler that led to a severe asthma attack, should speak with a lawyer.
The Seriousness of an Asthma Attack and Potential for Serious Harm or Fatality if Left Untreated by an Inhaler
Albuterol sulfate is a life-saving medication that reduces the tightening of airway muscles and the inflammation of the airway lining. The medication works immediately, and is known as a “rescue medication” or “rescue inhaler.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 12 Americans, or 25 million, have asthma, and that percentage is growing by the year. In 2007, the CDC reported that 3,447 Americans lost their lives due to asthma. And, over half of asthma sufferers had an asthma attack within the past 12 months, according to the study. Most asthma sufferers have at least one or more minor asthma attacks each year. Generally, the symptoms of a minor asthma attack will dissipate in less than an hour or two. However, a severe attack requires immediate use of albuterol and medical attention. If untreated, the attack will worsen until unconsciousness and eventually death occur. Being without a properly working albuterol inhaler in your or your child’s time of need can be incredibly traumatic and life-threatening.
Symptoms of an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack, marked by bronchospasm of the airway muscles, inflammation of the airway lining, and increased mucus production, can cause immediate difficulty breathing, coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Other symptoms, including severe symptoms that require immediate inhaler use or hospitalization, include the following, according to WebMD:
- Chest pressure and tightness;
- Blue lips or fingers;
- Tight chest or neck muscles;
- Persistent coughing;
- Rapid breathing;
- Trouble talking; and
- Pale and sweaty face.
If You Were Injured by a Defective Medical Device, Including Your Inhaler, Call a Lawyer Now
We strongly encourage all asthma sufferers and parents with asthmatic children who have suffered due to a defective inhaler to call Wells & Wells at 870.782.4084 immediately. Our Jonesboro attorneys are eager to help you today.