Generic Atrovent HFA

Although the first patent for Atrovent HFA has already expired, there are no generic versions being produced at this time. The reasons for this are unclear. However, multiple patents are listed for this drug, and perhaps some of the unexpired patents are providing protection against generic competition.

Generic Atrovent HFA: An Overview

Atrovent® HFA (ipratropium HFA inhaler) is a prescription medication used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Atrovent HFA belongs to a group of medications known as anticholinergics or antimuscarinics. The Atrovent HFA inhaler is a reformulation of the older Atrovent inhaler. Unlike the older inhaler, Atrovent HFA uses an environmentally friendly propellant that will not deplete the ozone layer.
Atrovent HFA is made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. There are no generic versions available.

When Will Generic Atrovent HFA Be Available?

The first patent for Atrovent HFA expired in November 2009. It is unclear why generic versions are not yet available. Perhaps the other listed patents (the next of which is set to expire in July 2010) provide protection against generic competition.
When multiple patents are listed (as is the case with Atrovent HFA), it is often unclear which patents provide true protection against generic competition. Therefore, it is difficult (if not impossible) to predict when exactly a generic version of Atrovent HFA will become available.

Is Ipratropium the Same as Generic Atrovent HFA?

No -- ipratropium is the active ingredient in Atrovent HFA (as well as in several other medications), but it is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that, oftentimes, the active ingredient of a drug is referred to as the "generic name." The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version of a medicine, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.

Atrovent HFA Inhaler -- Information

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