Patients with corn allergy or sulfite hypersensitivity can't use the new albuterol HFA inhalers because they contain ethanol.

  Some of the HFA inhalers contain small amounts of ethanol as a co-solvent. Ethanol is sometimes made by fermentation of corn...and some alcohols are known to contain sulfites. Some patients with corn or sulfite sensitivities believe this is why albuterol HFA inhalers don't seem to work as well as the CFC inhalers. This isn't likely.

  Corn proteins are what trigger the allergic reaction in corn-allergic patients. Ethanol used in pharmaceutical products is distilled and purified to the extent that even if made from corn, the amount of corn proteins in the finished product is negligible.

  And sulfites are found primarily in wine and beers...these are added as preservatives during the fermentation process. Any sulfites that might occur naturally in corn or other plants are removed during the distillation process used to make ethanol.

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