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Tension on stocks of Ventolin: what are the alternatives for asthmatics? Advice from a pulmonologist

  • June 10, 2024
  • 6 Min
  • 7

Last Thursday, to Le Parisien, Fabrice Camaioni, vice-president of the Federation of Pharmaceutical Unions of France (FSPF) explained that Ventolin “is now one of the medications that are regularly out of stock”. Friday, the manufacturer defended itself to BFMTVspecifying that there was no “breakdown or high tension” for Ventolin, and that the “production site located in Spain would provide reinforcement in order to increase the volumes put on the market in the coming weeks”.

As a reminder, Ventolin is used “in the treatment of asthma attack and in the prevention of exercise-induced asthma, in periods of worsening of asthma or chronic bronchitis of the obstructive type, that is to say associated with a narrowing of the diameter of the bronchi”according to the site Vidal. So, what are the alternatives to Ventolin? We take stock with Dr Jean-Philippe Santoni, volunteer pulmonologist from the Fondation du souffle.

Under what conditions can we have an alternative to Ventolin?

Ventolin belongs to a class of medications called short-acting bronchodilators, meaning they act quickly, but their effects do not last over time.. “As part of asthmait is important to be able to dilate the bronchi before an attack or when there are the beginnings of an asthma attack”continues the specialist.

If Ventolin is not available, there are other treatments that patients can turn to, always with the agreement of a healthcare professional.

If you go to a pharmacy, the pharmacist “can offer a Generic Ventolin if it is available”. In the event of a change of medication, with another active ingredient, you must contact a doctor (a teleconsultation may be enough to receive a prescription).

Ventolin: what are the alternatives for asthmatics?

As Dr Jean-Philippe Santoni explains, if Ventolin is in tension, it is possible to turn to a generic salbutamol, which is the active ingredient in Ventolin.

However, there are other fast-acting bronchodilator medications. The first one listed by the doctor is le terbutaline, “whose mechanism of action is similar to that of Ventolin”.

Then we find ipratropiuman anticholinergic that opposes a neurotransmitter that causes narrowing of the bronchi. “It is another class of medication, with a slightly different mechanism of action, but which results in a dilation of the bronchi and allows bronchial constriction to be released,” continues the pulmonologist.

Asthma attack: what are the recommendations?

Pour asthmaticsthe specialist recalls the importance of taking basic treatment which consists of inhaled corticosteroids.

At the first signs of respiratory difficulty, you must:

  • maintain calm (anxiety increases the feeling of shortness of breath);
  • settle into a seated or semi-sitting position;
  • control your breathing and use a bronchodilator.

It should be clarified that if the crisis lasts more than ten minutes, it is important to call 15.

You can find more information on the website of the Breath Foundation.

Sources :

  • Dr Jean-Philippe Santoni, volunteer pulmonologist at the Fondation du souffle (interview with Femme Actuelle)
  • Drug stock shortages: what now, Ventolin? – Le Parisien (06/06/2024)
  • Great tension on ventolin stocks in full pollen alert – BFMTV (06/07/2024)
  • Ventolin – Vidal
author avatar
Louis Tardy