Sustainable inhaler switch must not be at expense of people with asthma staying well

Responding to a study published in BMJ Open showing that switching to ‘green’ inhalers could reduce carbon emissions and cut costs, Jessica Kirby, Head of Health Advice at Asthma UK, says:

“We recognise the need to protect the environment, but it’s critically important that people with asthma receive the medicines they need to stay well and avoid a life-threatening asthma attack.

“Switching to a different type of inhaler can be complicated for people with asthma, as it involves learning a new inhaler technique, so it should only be done with support from a GP or asthma nurse. Taking inhalers properly is essential to get the medicine you need and reduce the chance of side effects.

“It is vital that you keep using your inhalers as prescribed. If you are concerned about the environmental effects, talk to your doctor or asthma nurse at your next annual asthma review, to see whether there is another type of inhaler that would work for you.  For more information about different inhalers, treatments and how to use them visit www.asthma.org.uk/inhalers.”

 

Notes to Editors:

Metered dose inhalers represent 3.5% of the NHS’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to evidence presented by the NHS Sustainable Development Unit to the Environment Audit Committee. The paper was published in April 2018: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/469/469.pdf

People with asthma can recycle their empty, out of date or unused inhalers through GlaxoSmithKline’s national ‘Complete the Cycle’ scheme by taking them back to any participating pharmacy. There’s more information about this: www.asthma.org.uk/advice/inhalers-medicines-treatments/common-concerns/#recycling