Salbutamol inhaler change

The practice is changing to more environmentally-friendly inhalers

Traditional asthma inhalers (pMDI inhalers) use propellant gases to get their medication into the lungs. These propellants are powerful greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. 

Until recently, most blue ‘reliever’ inhalers were the Ventolin brand, which contains a large amount of propellant. There is another brand of reliever inhaler called Salamol which had half as much propellant in each puff. Salamol works in exactly the same way as Ventolin.

Many of our patients are now given a prescription for a ‘salbutamol’ reliever inhaler. Salbutamol is the generic name for the reliever medication used in Ventolin and Salamol. This generic prescription allows the pharmacy to dispense either Ventolin or Salamol to you. 

The practice is now changing most reliever inhaler prescriptions to Salamol. This change will take place in the next few weeks. You will not notice any important difference between Salamol and your previous inhaler. 

This change in prescriptions reduces the carbon footprint of your inhaler.

Salamol contains a tiny amount of ethanol (alcohol) in each dose. This is not enough ethanol to cause any effect on the body. It is less than the amount of ethanol in a ripe banana! Some religious groups may have concerns about ethanol being present in their medications. Some Muslim authorities consider that it is acceptable to use inhalers containing ethanol. If you would prefer to continue using the Ventolin inhaler, which contains no ethanol, please inform the practice.

If you are happy for the switch to Salamol to go ahead, there is no need to contact the practice. This switch will take place automatically in the next few weeks.

The next step:

There are other brands of salbutamol-containing reliever inhalers which contain no propellant and cause much less environmental damage than either Ventolin or Salamol. These work differently and require a different inhaler technique. Switching to one of these inhalers will require a discussion with your asthma nurse at your annual review. Please mention this at your annual review if you are keen to switch.