Dry Powder Inhalers Show Benefits for Asthma Control, Environment

Asthma inhaler
Asthma inhaler
Switching to dry powder inhaler more than halves carbon footprint of asthma treatment without asthma worsening

HealthDay News — Switching from a pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI)-based to a dry powder inhaler (DPI)-based maintenance therapy reduces environmental impacts and does not worsen asthma control for patients with asthma, according to a study published online February 7 in Thorax.

Ashley Woodcock, MD, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues performed a post-hoc analysis on data for a subset of patients from the Salford Lung Study in Asthma to compare the effects of switching from a pMDI-based to a DPI-based maintenance therapy on asthma control and greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis included 1081 patients who switched from pMDI to DPI and 1155 who continued their usual care treatment.

The researchers found that annual greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide equivalents kg per patient) for maintenance plus rescue therapy was significantly lower with fluticasone furoate/vilanterol (FF/VI) DPI treatment (the switch group) vs usual care (least squares geometric mean, 108kg vs 240kg). The FF/VI DPI treatment group also had consistently superior asthma control during the 12 months compared with usual care.

“Each puff of a [metered dose inhaler] is equivalent to driving one mile in a family car, so one inhaler is close to driving 200 miles … but a powdered inhaler is about a twentieth of that,” Woodcock said in a statement. “Essentially this is about evolution, not revolution. In discussion with patients, health care professionals should have a conversation about the environmental footprint of their inhalers.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to GlaxoSmithKline, which funded the study.

Abstract/Full Text