NICE goes green on asthma inhalers
A new patient decision aid from NICE is reminding asthma patients that all used inhalers should be returned to local pharmacies for environmentally safe disposal or recycling.
The new aid highlights that while several inhalers could be viable treatment options, patients can opt for the more environmentally friendly option.
Metered dose inhalers, containing hydrofluorocarbons, have estimated carbon footprints of 500g CO2eq per dose, compared to 20g in dry powder inhalers.
More than 26m prescriptions for MDIs were written in primary care in England in 2016/17. They made up 70% of UK inhaler sales in 2011, compared with fewer than half in other European countries and just 10% in Sweden.
The aid includes links to a new series of short videos created by Asthma UK, which give simple demonstrations of correct inhaler technique, potentially improving their effectiveness and preventing future exacerbations and attacks.