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Difference Between CFC and HFA Inhalers

 CFC vs HFA Inhalers

Inhalers are a life-saving device for people with asthma and other lung problems. These inhalers help to dispense medicine into the lungs or airways by relieving them and enabling the patient to breathe properly. Inhalers are of different types. The two most common are the CFC and HFA. The former has been banned for use while the other serves as its replacement.

The first type of inhaler made available in the market was a CFC, which is short for chlorofluorocarbon. This type of inhaler was banned for use effective January 1, 2009, due to the harmful effects of CFCs to the environment, specifically to the ozone layer. HFA, or hydrofluoroalkane inhalers replaced the CFC inhalers.

Both types of inhalers have the same size and shape, and they carry the same dosage of medication.  Both tools have the same effectiveness of dispensing medicine. Yet there are certain differences between the two. For one, while CFC inhalers are toxic to the environment, HFA inhalers are more environmentally friendly.

More Differences Between the Two Types of Inhalers

Chemical Compositions/Propellant

CFC inhalers use chlorofluorocarbons while HFA inhalers use hydrofluoroalkanes.

Performance and Potency

CFC inhalers are more potent, and they give off a sharp burst of the medicine. Patients often complain that CFC inhalers are harsher in the lungs which makes them feel more uncomfortable. Accordingly, they could feel the medicine being pumped into their lungs.  HFA inhalers, on the other hand, emit a gentler or softer spray.


CFC inhalers are easier to clean and maintain. HFA inhalers require many priming attempts before use. They are more difficult to use, too, because the patient has to take a long, slow breath at an interval of 30 seconds before taking the medication from the inhaler again. After every use, the HFA inhaler must be cleaned, but one needs to be careful not to submerge the device into water.


CFC inhalers feel cold while HFA inhalers are warm to the skin. HFA inhalers also come with a distinct taste.


Some HFA inhalers, though, contain ethanol, a byproduct of corn. Thus they may not be advisable for use for people allergic to corn. Some components of HFA inhalers may also eventually clog the device.


CFC inhalers are cheaper, and they are available in generic and brand names. HFA inhalers are more expensive, available only as branded medicines.


  1. CFS and HFA are two types of inhalers formulated for people with lung problems. The CFC inhalers are now banned for use and distribution since 2009 because the propellant, or the chemical in CFC inhalers, contributes to environmental damage, specifically the ozone layer. The more environmentally friendly HFA inhalers replaced the CFC inhalers.
  2. One important difference between the two inhalers is the propellant or chemical used for administering the medicine. The names of the inhalers themselves carry the name of the propellant used in the inhaler: chlorofluorocarbon for the CFS inhaler and hydrofluoroalkane for HFA inhalers.
  3. CFC inhalers are more potent, and they emit a strong and sharp mist when used. In contrast, HFA inhalers emit a soft and gentle mist to distribute smaller particles of medicine. This nature of the delivery causes some patients to feel that the medicine is not distributed properly and that there is a need for additional deliveries.
  4. CFC inhalers deliver a cool temperature, while HFA inhalers feel warm and sticky, something that makes some patients uncomfortable.
  5. HFA inhalers contain ethanol which may cause allergic reactions for people sensitive to corn. Some components of the device may also cause it to clog.
  6. HFA inhalers are more expensive compared to CFC inhalers which prior to their ban became available in both generic and brand names.

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1 Comment

  1. Cnsiderable efforts …thanks

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