Several batches of Ventolin and Asmol asthma medications have been recalled due to a fault in the delivery mechanism that could lead to inconsistent dosing.
And health authorities have reminded asthma sufferers to be prepared for the phenomenon “storm asthma", which can be triggered by summer storms.
ACT Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly said pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline had recalled 10 batches of the medication.
“In devices that are affected, the dose of the active medication - salbutamol - may not be delivered in full. In some cases, approximately one third of the normal dose may be delivered per puff of the inhaler," Dr Kelly said.
“People who use Ventolin or Asmol inhalers should check the batch number. To confirm the relevant batch number, remove the canister from the tube and the batch number is located on the bottom of the canister label. If they identify that they have one of the affected inhalers, it can be returned to their pharmacy for a free replacement.
Batches affected are:
VENTOLIN batch numbers: KN7170, KN7173, KN7178, KN7179
ASMOL batch numbers: KL6790, KL6795, KL6796, KL6797, KL6798, KL6799
Dr Kelly also said Monday night's storm should serve as a reminder to asthmatics of the potential environmental factors that could trigger the condition.
Some asthmatics are prone to attacks during and after thunderstorms, when air moisture ruptures pollen into particles small enough to be breathed deeply into the lungs.
“Due to these two factors, and limited access to medical services over the Christmas and New Year period, asthma sufferers and their carers should also ensure that they know what medical services are available over the coming week,” Dr Kelly said.
The Emergency Departments at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital would operate as normal during the Christmas Period.
The nurse-led Walk-in Centre on the Canberra Hospital campus would continue to operate as normal from 7am to 11pm daily for minor illness and injury.
A list of pharmacies, including after hours pharmacies, is available on the ACT Health Directorate website at www.health.act.gov.au/