Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Ventodisks Discontinued

Ventodisks® are to be discontinued with effect from the end of September 2006 according to a letter sent by the manufacturers to healthcare professionals.

Ventodisks are foil disks containing eight blisters of salbutamol in either 200 microgram or 400 microgram strengths.

According to the letter the main reason for the choice to discontinue the product is increased demand for the antiviral zanamivir. These two products are made using the same expertise and equipment and the decision has been made to divert manufacturing capacity from ventodisks to zanamivir.

Action: This product is not widely used. Patients should be identified and provided with the opportunity to discuss alternative treatment options.

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17 Comments to “Ventodisks Discontinued”

  1. Carol,

    Get your son to see his asthma nurse as there are other alternatives. The decision to withdraw the product was made by the manufacturer (not me!) over two years ago now and I think it highly unlikely that decision will be reversed now.

    Comment by Matthew Robinson — December 17, 2009 #

  2. My son used ventodisks successfully to control his asthma for years. He is now 28 years old and he too finds the turbohaler completely ineffective and difficult to use. I agree with the comments that this product should be relaunched. It was effective and useful. Can you not rethink?

    Comment by Carol Hill — December 17, 2009 #

  3. I too was totally devastated when I was told the Ventodisks were to be discontinued, so much so that I went round all the local to get their last stocks!!! I am using the turbohaler but do not find this as good as the Ventodisks. I still use the Becodisks.

    Comment by Joy Mann — August 21, 2009 #

  4. I would support the comments made that Ventodisks were by far the most effective method of salbutamol delivery and inspite of the supposedly many alternatives available I have so far been totally unsuccesful in finding something that works and can be carried in the pocket. One cannot help but suspect that the main reason for disconting production is that it's cheap and it works thereby discouraging purchasers from going to more expensive products. Shame on Glaxo.

    Comment by Brian Terrell — November 3, 2008 #

  5. I too am thoughly disgusted with the decision to discontinue Ventodisks. I was disappointed 20 odd years ago when the Intal Spinhaler was phased out, but did find that the Becodisks and the Ventodisks did their jobs OK. In fact the Becodisks worked so well that I didn't need the Ventodisks very often, so (foolishly in hindsight) did my bit to save the NHS some money by only asking for repeat prescriptions for Becodisks - until a few weeka ago when I found that I had virtually run out of Ventodisks and the ones that I had were way out of date. I could not believe that they had discontinued Ventodisks as they worked very well when needed. The Turbohaler effort they have given me instead is surely a joke. It does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL - am I inserting it in the right orifice?

    This reminds me also of my late Father-in-law who had severe asthma and emphysema - he had an amazing inhaler about 12 inches tall, black with a squeezy bulb at the bottom and a small amber chamber at the top in which was some liquid, apparently called Aleudrin. I saw him use this often, and it was just amazing. He would be gasping for breath, barely able to move, but once he had got hold of this inhaler he pumped it up a couple of times then breathed in some vapour from the top. Then he would emit a loud burp and you could see all his muscles relaxing. Within seconds of using it he was striding round, and barking orders and working away as though nothing had ever happened. So - they discontinued it, didn't they. And his wife said "he'll be dead in 6 months" - and sure enough - he was.

    I feel many people have probably done the same as me - not needed Ventodisks for ages but now with Flu seeming to last longer and as I get older I am now again needing Ventodisks - to be told they are not available. Maybe I'll be dead in 6 months too so this screed can be happily ignored by the bean counters.

    Comment by BrianJohnLee — April 6, 2008 #

  6. Bill,

    Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry to hear that you too are not finding the same level of relief with the alternatives you have been given thus far. Please don't think I am indifferent your situation, I do sympathise.

    As you rightly point out the Becodisk product remains available, unfortunately once a company takes the decision to discontinue a product they almost never reverse that decision. On the brighter side, there are so many alternatives open to you (too many to list here) that it is really worth talking to your doctor or nurse about your problems and trying to find a good solution for you.

    Comment by Matthew Robinson — January 4, 2008 #

  7. I read with interest the comment by Edwin Sedden dated 12th December 2007 and would like to add my voice to his. I have been prescribed various alternatives to ventodisks over the last 18 months, but none has provided the relief I felt for many years through using the 400 mcg dosage of this now discontinued medication. I suffer with COPD and totally disagree with the apparent indifference shown by Matthew Robinson by his recommendations to 'explore alternatives' as none, so far, have proved effective. I am appalled that this inhaler and the 400 mcg blisters are no longer available in this country.
    Furthermore, I cannot understand why Allen & Hambury have discontinued manufacture of the Ventodisk inhaler as they still produce the Becotide diskhaler using 200 mcg which uses the same mould but just has a different colour-injected plastic! Surely it would not be that expensive to continue to produce the ventodisk inhaler, as the original mould is obviously still in use.

    Comment by Bill Raynham — January 3, 2008 #

  8. Edwin,

    The reason given by the manufacturer for the discontinuation was diversion of manufacturing capacity into the anti-viral product zanamivir. This choice was probably made in response to the global concerns about pandemic influenza.

    If you are struggling with the alternative inhaler device prescribed by your surgery try speaking to your doctor or asthma nurse to explore alternatives.

    Comment by Matthew Robinson — December 12, 2007 #

  9. I cannot understand why the ventodisc has been discontinued, it is the only method that gives 100% useage, it is the only method that gets the treatment exactly where it should go, with the inhaler & turbohaler the medication ends up anywhere in the mouth unless one is an expert at holding the thing exactly right, which is very difficult for oldies like myself (80 years old)
    Edwin Sedden

    Comment by E SEDDEN — December 12, 2007 #

  10. I always found the Ventodisk gave me the most relief.

    Comment by E Sedden — December 9, 2007 #

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