3.1 Airways disease, obstructive

For Kent and Medway Guidance for Primary Care Management of COPD click here

  • COPD Rescue Pack information please click here
  • COPD Self-Management of Flare-ups Guide please click here

For Kent and Medway Asthma Inhaler Guidelines (age 12 - adult) click here

Issue a steroid treatment card to people who are using prolonged high doses (more than 1000 micrograms beclomethasone per day, or equivalent) of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Also consider the use of a spacer with medium-high dose inhaled ICS (via a metered dose inhaler) for those patients at risk of developing oral candidiasis.

Some inhalers contain extra-fine particles (Qvar), making them more potent than others (Clenil). Take care to prescribe by brand.

Generic prescribing of inhalers should be avoided as this might lead to patients being given an unfamiliar inhaler device which they are not able to use properly. Different products and doses are licensed for different age groups and some may be applicable only to older children or adults (aged 18 years and over). Prior to prescribing, the relevant Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) should be checked.

The NHS aims to be the worlds’ first net carbon zero health service and metered dose inhalers are a major contributing factor to the carbon footprint of the NHS. Where clinically appropriate consider a dry powder inhaler for newly diagnosed patients. Following a thorough annual review of existing patients, consider switching from an MDI to a DPI with appropriate inhaler techniques counselling and inspiratory flow assessment. The majority of Salbutamol inhalers are prescribed as MDI’s, and a switch from Ventolin, to Salamol or Airomir, would lower the carbon footprint. This can also be achieved by reducing the number of salbutamol inhalers prescribed, following thorough review. See Prescqipp for further information regarding the carbon footprint of inhalers https://www.prescqipp.info/umbraco/surface/authorisedmediasurface/index?url=%2fmedia%2f5719%2f295-inhaler-carbon-footprint-22.pdf

Link to MHRA alert https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/pressurised-metered-dose-inhalers-pmdi-risk-of-airway-obstruction-from-aspiration-of-loose-objects.