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Families, Children's Hospital Colorado feeling impacts months after asthma medication is discontinued

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Posted at 4:50 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 07:48:13-04

AURORA, Colo. — An asthma medication that thousands of people rely upon, including children, hasn't been available in pharmacies across Colorado since the beginning of the year. Now, doctors at Children's Hospital Colorado are beginning to see the impacts from its loss.

"They discontinued Flovent," said Dr. Monica Federico, the medical director of the Asthma Program at Children's Colorado.

The company that produces Flovent discontinued it, instead making a generic version that went on the market on Jan. 1, 2024.

Jessa Osborne's family is now one of the many dealing with the fallout of the decision.

She first noticed her daughter Frances, who is now 9 year's old, struggling with her breathing years ago.

"It was kind of something we realized, maybe around in Kindergarten," Osborne said. "I noticed at her soccer practice, you know, they were all gathered to talk all the kids in the coaches and you know, all the other kids were just kind of sitting there like normal and Franny, I could tell was still like, you know, really still trying to catch her breath."

Osborne said the asthma, combined with allergies later on, led to the need for a different prescription.

"We started seeing her inhaler usage pick up a lot. Like, she was using it way more than really she should have been, and so the doctor prescribed Flovent, which is more of like a steroid inhaler," said Osborne.

When Flovent was discontinued, Osborne and Frances' doctor began searching for alternatives.

"Since then it's been kind of all over the place, like, trying different ones," Osborne said. "We ended up getting the other one, they recommended QVAR."

It's not just a problem Osborne and her family have had. Doctor's at Children's Colorado have spent months trying to help other families find solutions.

Families, Children's Hospital Colorado feeling impacts months after asthma medication is discontinued

"Families had medications that were working well for them that they no longer could access," said Dr. Federico.

Children's Colorado nurses have also spent time lending a hand, too, spending hours trying to help families who once relied on Flovent now find alternatives.

"We are spending hours trying to do the right thing and the poor families and the children are going without medications and their asthma is not as well controlled," Dr. Federico said.

Something Osborne understands very well.

"It's so frustrating," she said, adding it's also been a matter of trying to find an alternative that's in stock at pharmacies near her, and finding ones covered by her insurance.

"That was about $50. The last one we just picked up was $75," Osborne said about QVAR, which Frances is currently using.

While the process of constantly looking for the right fit for Frances' asthma can be daunting, Osborne said she just wants her 9-year-old daughter to enjoy everything, without worry.

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