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Storm in a tea cup for asthma aerosols

Storm in a tea cup for asthma aerosols

A report in the New Zealand Medical Journal today about the temporary effects of asthma inhalers on alcohol breath testing, is a well known phenomenon and concerns raised by the Asthma New Zealand are a storm in a tea cup, according to Professor Julian Crane, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Professor Crane said: `It is pretty much a storm in a tea cup. The solution is very simple, breath testing needs to be repeated after 6 minutes. UK analysis by Lion Laboratories1, manufacturers of evidential breath machines showed that if a subject with no alcohol in his body used a similar inhaler to Salamol™ , sealed his mouth closed and immediately blew into an intoximeter it would produce a breath reading of 32 microgram per 100ml (three points below the UK upper limit for driving). One minute later, not having used the inhaler again, the reading was 1 microgram. Six minutes after using the inhaler there was no trace of alcohol in a breath test.’

‘Provided a period of at least six minutes elapses between the use of an inhaler and a breath test there is no effect on the alcohol reading. I know of no case in the world where a sober person has been convicted due to a breath alcohol reading caused by an asthma inhaler.’

Lion Laboratories also calculated that to raise the breath or blood, alcohol level from zero to the UK legal limit for driving, a 70kg man would need to take over 5500 actuations of the inhaler product in less than 30 minutes. This equates to around 27 containers.

Professor Crane added: ‘Asthma New Zealand has suggested that the miniscule amount of alcohol would be a problem for recovering alcoholics and the Muslim community.. This has been roundly refuted by representatives of those communities. Asthma New Zealand is clearly unaware that each and every one of us, child or adult makes ethanol, methanol and a whole variety of volatile organic compounds every day and it can be detected on our breath. It is a simple fact of life’. Further information:

1) Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine (1997) 4, 55-56 (letter)

SalamolTM CFC-Free Inhaler contains 100mcg Salbutamol (as sulphate) per metered dose. Also contains the CFC-free propellant Norflurane (HFA134a) and Ethanol (anhydrous). 200 metered doses. Salbutamol makes it easier to breathe when airways (breathing tubes in your lungs) get tight due to asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is suitable for use in the relief of asthmatic symptoms. Many asthmatics also require a preventer inhaler. Check with your doctor that Salamol is right for you. Precautions: Use strictly as directed. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose from time-to-time depending on the severity of your asthma. Do not stop using your inhaler without your doctor's advice. See your doctor if a previously effective dose fails to give relief for at least three hours or if you need your inhaler more often than usual. Do not use if you are allergic to Salbutamol or any of the inhaler components. Side effects may include Trembling, headache, fast heart beat. Mouth and throat irritation may occur. See your doctor if you have side effects. Normal doctor's visit fees will apply. PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE. This medicine is fully funded on prescription. See your doctor or pharmacist for further information. Made in Ireland. Air Flow Products Ltd, PO Box 1485, Wellington. www.air-flow.co.nz. Phone 0800 AIRFLOW (0800 247 3569) or email: afp@air-flow.co.nz. Salamol is a trademark.

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