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NZ Asthmatics Do Have Other Alternatives

NZ Asthmatics Do Have Other Alternatives

May 2005

Asthma sufferers worried about the part charge for Ventolin®, clogging and bad taste of Salamol™ inhalers, need to know there is another fully funded alternative to both Ventolin® and Salamol™ which has the same efficacy.

AstraZeneca Sales and Marketing Director, Patrick Forrester, says “Bricanyl® (terbutaline) Turbuhaler® is a short-acting asthma reliever which is fully funded*. Plus it contains only medication so they won’t have to worry about any other propellant, preservatives, additives or lubricants which can result in problems with inhalers. ”

Pharmac announced in early 2005 that Salamol™ would replace Ventolin® as a subsidised metered dose asthma inhaler. Both contain salbutamol as their active ingredient but Salamol™ has had recent patient complaints relating to it.

Mr Forrester says, “Asthma is suffered by one in six New Zealanders1 and there will a large number of people who will be switching to Salamol™ and are now worried about the implications of using the inhaler.

“I think it is important that people realise there are other alternatives to paying for Ventolin® or using Salamol™ with its potential associated problems. Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® has been available in New Zealand for 20 years and can be used by children as young as three.

“Asthma is a big problem in New Zealand, particularly for children, with 24 percent of 13-14 year olds suffering from asthma1. The advantage of the Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® is that it is easy to use2 because it is breath-activated, meaning you use your breath to get the drug into the airways, therefore there is no need to co-ordinate the release of the dose and the inhalation, as with pressurised inhalers.

“This means you don’t need to use a spacer to regulate the medication which is particularly beneficial for young people who are often worried about the stigma of being an asthmatic and having to use an unsightly device.”

Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® works within a few minutes and lasts up to six hours. It has been available in New Zealand for 20 years and the Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® is used in 27 countries worldwide. It can also be used for bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

There are also other medications available in the Turbuhaler® such as Symbicort® which is both an asthma preventer and long-acting reliever, Pulmicort® which is a preventer and Oxis® which is a long-acting reliever.

*(Normal prescription charges and doctor consultation fees still apply)
References: 1 The Burden of Asthma in New Zealand; Holt S & Beasley R 2001. 2. Watson JBG, Curr Med. Res. Opin.1990; 11(10)654-660.


Bricanyl, Oxis Pulmicort and Symbicort are trade marks of the AstraZeneca group of companies.


1. The active ingredient of Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® is terbutaline sulphate. Immediately following a dose of Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® there may be sufficient ethanol vapour generated to register on the intoximeter. Theoretically this in turn may result in an impaired or failed breathalyser test. However any potential interference of the Bricanyl® with a breathalyser dissipates rapidly, hence the recommendation to wait at least 15 minutes after inhaling medication from asthma inhalers before undertaking a breathalyser test. There is no evidence to suggest that terbutaline would affect blood alcohol levels.

2. AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $18.8 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, oncology, cardiovascular, neuroscience and respiratory products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

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