The soft-mist inhalers Spiriva Respimat (tiotropium), Striverdi Respimat (olodaterol) and Spiolto Respimat (olodaterol/tiotropium) can now be reused with up to six refill cartridges rather than disposed of as soon as a single cartridge is finished.
Patients prescribed Respimat inhalers will now receive one inhaler plus one cartridge for their initial prescription, followed by packs containing one refill cartridge. At six months, the patient will once again receive one inhaler plus one cartridge.
As part of the inhaler's new design its dose counter has been improved to show more clearly when medication is running low and needs to be replaced. The clear base of the inhaler automatically detaches when the cartridge is empty as an indication that the cartridge needs to be replaced.
Evidence suggests that the carbon footprint of the original disposable version of Respimat is approximately 20 times smaller than that of pressurised metered-dose inhalers. Manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim estimates the new reusable device could lead to 1.2 million fewer inhalers being disposed of each year and further reduce the carbon footprint of Respimat by 71%.
'Respiratory medicine has significant problems with the considerable carbon emissions and plastic waste associated with the manufacture, use and disposal of the millions of inhalers we prescribe to manage conditions such as COPD and asthma,' said Dr Richard Russell, Respiratory Consultant at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Clinical Director of the West Hampshire Community Integrated Respiratory Service and Senior Clinical Researcher at the University of Oxford.
'These issues were recently highlighted within the NHS Long-Term Plan and therefore any developments towards greener inhalers that can reduce the impact of prescribing on our fragile environment are to be welcomed and should be encouraged.'
Respimat's approved indications, dosage, and safety and efficacy profile remain the same.