What Strategies Can Pharmacy Teams Implement to Reduce The Environmental Impact Associated With Inhaler Use Through Sustainable Prescribing Practices and Effective Management of Medication Waste?

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Saudi Digital Library
Background: Inhalers, commonly prescribed for respiratory conditions, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and ozone layer depletion. The primary environmental concern associated with inhalers is the propellants used, typically hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs) or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). While HFAs replaced CFCs due to their non-ozone depletion potential, they still act as potent greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. Proper disposal, energy consumption during manufacturing, and patient education are critical factors influencing the overall environmental footprint of inhalers. Objectives: This scoping review explores the environmental impact of medications, particularly inhalers, and the role of pharmacists in mitigating these impacts. Methods: Through a comprehensive search of academic databases such as PubMed Central and Embase, out of 4862 results, 13 studies were included in the current review. Key findings: pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) are responsible for a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions and have a detrimental environmental impact throughout usage and disposal. Pharmacists can play an important role in mitigating these effects through helping to switch pMDIs into dry powder inhalers or soft mist inhalers with lower ecological footprint. Furthermore, recycling programmes or some other smart in hospital decisions can aid in decreasing the waste of inhalers. Conclusion: Collaborative efforts between pharmacists, healthcare providers, manufacturers, and environmental organisations are essential in developing and implementing strategies to reduce the ecological footprint while ensuring optimal patient care. Future research should focus on evaluating the effectiveness of pharmacist-led interventions in mitigating the environmental impact of inhalers and identifying further opportunities for sustainable practices within the pharmaceutical sector.
Inhalers, Pharmacy team and Climate change, Environment, Medication waste