Some Specific Inhalers – Ventolin™, Flutiform™, Symbicort™ MDI

-Ventolin Evohaler™ventolin

This is the most commonly used inhaler in the UK, and you may well have used it yourself. Ventolin™ is actually the brand name (like hoover for vacuum cleaners), the active ingredient is Salbutamol, and other brands are available (e.g. Salamol™ and AirSalb™). Many people are understandably quite attached to their Ventolin™ inhaler, which can provide rapid relief from the symptoms of tightening airways. For this reason you may be reluctant to change. If you would consider changing, there may be other options available. Salbutamol also comes as a dry powder inhaler. The cheapest dry powder alternatives currently available in the UK are the Salbutamol Easyhaler™, Salbulin Novoliser™ and Ventolin Accuhaler™.

If you want, or need to stick with a metered dose inhaler, there may still be better alternatives for you though. Ventolin™ is a particularly large volume inhaler with lots of propellant in. Changing to a smaller volume metered dose inhaler, such as Salamol™ or Airsalb™, means a lot less of the harmful propellant is released into the environment.  Talk to your GP or nurse about what alternatives are available.

Ventolin in the middle (large volume) and salamol on the outside. Both contain 200 doses and have the same amount of salbutamol (the active drug) in each puff, but ventolin contains a lot more HFA propellant.

Flutiform™, Symbicort™ metered dose inhaler and HFA227

Most metered dose inhalers use HFA 134 as their propellant. This is a very potent greenhouse gas, about 1,300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. A couple of inhalers used in the UK (Flutiform™ and Symbicort™ MDI*) use HFA227. This is an even more powerful greenhouse gas; 3,350 times more powerful than CO2. These inhalers therefore have particularly large carbon footprints. Depending on your condition, there may be other more environmentally friendly alternatives, including dry powder inhalers (Fostair Nexthaler™, Symbicort turbohaler™, Fobumix Easyhaler™, Duoresp Spiromax™, Relvar Ellipta™ and Seretide Accuhaler™) or metered dose inhalers containing HFA 134 (such as Fostair™ metered dose inhaler, Combisal™, Sirdupla™, AirFluSal™, Seretide Evohaler™, and Sereflo™) . Talk to your GP or nurse about what alternatives are available.

*NB: Symbicort™ comes in two main inhaler types, 1. the turbohaler which is a more environmentally friendly dry powder inhaler, which has been used for some years and has loads of evidence supporting it’s effectiveness; 2. the metered dose inhaler which is a more recently released device. It is environmentally very harmful, and only licensed for use in COPD.
A young woman is using an asthma inhaler outdoor
Symbicort Metered Dose Inhaler looks a bit like this.