Inhaler Users are ‘Blanket Switching’ to Environmentally Friendly Options

Consumer

People who use inhalers to control their asthma are changing out the device for ‘greener’ options without speaking to the doctor first.

PCNs (primary care networks) are expected to begin transitioning inhaler users from metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) to alternative options that do not operate using propellant gases, which has potential to add to climate change issues. Instead, dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and soft mist inhalers (SMIs), will be offered.

“People who use inhalers to control their asthma are changing out the device for ‘greener’ options without speaking to the doctor first.“

To minimize unnecessary CO2 emissions, the NHS established four aims to encourage better respiratory treatment and improve the health of individuals with asthma. Unfortunately, the release and publication of these targets were postponed until April to avoid overloading the NHS, which has already faced mounting pressure because of the Omicron Covid 19 variant.

A consultant pharmacist specializing in respiratory treatment, Toby Capstick, has been informed by a GP that “their colleagues were blanket switching patients from an MDI to a DPI, but they weren’t checking inhaler technique. A number of the [patients] were getting worse.”

“Patients had no idea about this until they were getting their prescription. Some had received a letter but hadn’t really read it and there was information on the practice website about it — but it wasn’t proactively contacting those patients, getting their agreement, and checking their inhaler technique.”

Professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College, Omar Usmani, expressed that “there are inherent risks in switching patients’ inhalers without seeing them and not obtaining their consent, leading to discontent amongst patients, diminishing their confidence in their medication.”

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