Ventolin Accuhaler and Seretide Accuhaler inhalers recall – do you need to be worried?

Is your inhaler one of the faulty ones made by Glaxo Wellcome UK Limited? And what should you do if it is? Dr Andy explains

21 February 2018

Today it was announced that some inhalers produced by drugs manufacturer Glaxo Wellcome UK Limited might be faulty. Understandably, if you have asthma you might be worried your inhaler is affected. But, there’s no need to panic. There are three lots of inhalers in the UK that might be faulty, and if your inhaler is among them, you just need to get it changed.

Is your inhaler affected?

There are three lots of inhalers affected in the UK. To find out whether yours is one of them, look on the back of the inhaler to see if the lot and expiry date matches any of the below.

Seretide Accuhaler inhaler 50/250mcg –1x60D

  • Lot: 5K8W
  • Expiry date: 28/04/2019

Ventolin Accuhaler inhaler 200mcg –1x60D

  • Lot: 754P
  • Expiry date: 11/05/2019

Ventolin Accuhaler inhaler 200mcg –1x60D

  • Lot: 786G
  • Expiry date: 12/05/2019

What’s happened to the affected inhalers

There may be a mark or tear in the foil strip of the Accuhaler devices. This tear could mean the inhaler doesn’t give you all the doses your inhaler is meant to.The fault hasn’t affected the medicine itself, so don’t worry – you’ve not been taking anything that could have harmed your health. The worst that could have happened is you weren’t getting the dose of medicine you need.

Don’t panic, just get a new inhaler

Obviously, you need your inhaler to be in full and working order, so you get the medication you need. Go to your pharmacist as soon as possible to get a new one.

The medicine in the Ventolin or Seretide inhalers hasn’t been affected. So, it won’t have harmed you to have been taking them, other than not getting the right dose of medicine you need.

If you had the defective Ventolin Accuhaler inhaler (reliever)

It’s really important you get a new one, because this is the inhaler you need if you have an asthma attack. Go and get a new inhaler from your pharmacist right away.

Even if you’ve not had an asthma attack for a while, triggers can be unpredictable and you don’t want to be caught out without a working inhaler. Asthma attacks are serious and can be life threatening – so be prepared and always keep an effective reliever inhaler with you.

If you had the defective Seretide Accuhaler inhaler (combination preventer)

It might be that you’ve not been getting the dose of preventer inhaler you should have been. The first thing you need to do is go to see your pharmacist and ask for a new Seretide Accuhaler inhaler. Then carry on taking your new Seretide inhaler every day as prescribed.

Your preventer inhaler – in this case a Seretide  Accuhaler – is just as important as your reliever in keeping you healthy and safe. It works in the background, calming your airways, reducing your symptoms and making asthma attacks a lot less likely.

Always see your doctor or asthma nurse if your symptoms are getting worse

Without your preventer medication, you might have experienced more asthma symptoms than usual. If you have and you feel unwell, you should book an appointment with your doctor. 

Call up your GP surgery and ask for an urgent appointment if the effects of your reliever inhaler aren’t lasting for four hours.

Will you have to pay for a replacement inhaler?

No. According to Consumer Rights Act if you’re sold a faulty product you’re entitled to a replacement or repair.

Dr Andy Whittamore from Asthma + Lung UK

Dr Andy Whittamore is a GP based in Hampshire, specialising in respiratory care. He’s Asthma + Lung UK’s in-house GP, where he works on building relationships with key opinion leaders in respiratory care, identifying emerging issues in asthma, and providing the charity with clinical expertise.