Nagpur: The Indian Chest Society has advocated the use of dry powder inhalers (DPIs) rather than pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) – the most commonly used device for inhaled medications – as the latter contain small amounts of greenhouse gases and are harmful to the environment. ”.
According to a white paper published by the company, in India, inhalers are discarded in trash bins or with garbage, or even dumped in the open space outside the patient’s home. Ultimately, most inhalers can end up in landfill, take centuries to biodegrade, and microplastics can even enter the food chain.
DPI does not contain propellants and is therefore much less harmful to the environment. Replacing an MDI device with a DPI can save 150 to 400 kg of CO2 per year, the document states.
The paper, co-authored by Dr P Arjun and Dr Rajesh Swarnakar, says a greenhouse gas acts as a propellant to deliver the drug to the lungs. “It is estimated that more than 630 million (63 crore) pMDIs are manufactured each year worldwide, using more than 10,000 tons of propellants. MDIs currently in use contain hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) as a propellant. The inhalers used in our country today contain HFA 134a and HFA 227ea, which have a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,300 and 3,350, respectively.
“GWP represents the potency of the greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. The GWP of CO2 is taken as 1. The dry powder inhaler does not contain propellants and is therefore much less harmful to the environment,” according to the article.
The MDI is an important device option for patients, especially when familiarity with the device, poor lung function, extreme ages, reduced dexterity, concurrent illnesses such as Parkinsonism, or impaired cognition are concerns. considerations, the document says.
The study further indicates that inhalers should also be disposed of safely to prevent HFA propellants from escaping into the atmosphere. “A study conducted by a major pharmaceutical company showed that 29% of discarded inhalers contained drug remnants. If these inhalers end up in a landfill, it is possible for the medicine to escape and contaminate local water supplies. Another study of inhalers returned for recycling showed that 48% of doses remain in metered-dose inhalers, compared to only 27% in DPIs,” the paper notes.