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New hand-held emergency pain relief inhaler launched in the UK

Galen Ltd. has announced that Penthrox®, a new, hand-held inhaler, which brings rapid pain relief to adult trauma patients1, is now available in the UK.

The innovative pocket-sized inhaler delivers an analgesic medicine quickly to accident victims and trauma patients attending emergency departments.

Known as ‘The Green Whistle’ in Australia and New Zealand, Penthrox has helped emergency medicine professionals treat patients quickly and effectively for many years. Its launch in the UK will signal the first new advance in emergency pain relief in over a decade. Penthrox contains methoxyflurane, a pain relieving medicine, which is delivered via the inhaler to provide fast, effective pain relief within 6 – 10 breaths1, 2.

Over the last 10 years, overall Emergency Department attendances in the UK have increased by 36%3,4. More than 75% of patients present to the Emergency Department in pain*5. This increase in patient attendances is creating a challenge for Trusts to hit the 4 hour admission/ discharge target times, and has contributed to a high profile crisis in UK Emergency Departments. Current pain management methods, such as intravenously delivered medication, can cause significant delays in getting analgesia to patients and could be contributing to the crisis.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) acknowledges that ”pain is commonly underrecognised, under-treated and treatment may be delayed6.” The RCEM Best Practice Guidelines recommend that patients in moderate to severe pain should be given pain relief within 20 minutes of arriving at an Emergency Department6, however few are managing to achieve this.

“Treatments such as IV analgesia or gas and air can be cumbersome to set up and take time to administer. Penthrox is easy to use and relieves pain quickly, freeing up healthcare professional time for a more efficient service and a better patient experience. Its availability in the UK is an important step forward in the emergency relief of acute pain”, said Dr. Justin Kirk-Bayley, Consultant Intensivist and Anaesthetist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, Surrey.

Alongside its use in Emergency Departments, Penthrox can also be used in a variety of pre-hospital settings by appropriately trained persons, such as paramedics.

“It is fast-acting and provides relief quickly,” commented Joe Emery, a paramedic and Clinical Quality Manager at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) where Penthrox has recently been evaluated. “We have been able to help badly injured patients in serious accidents much quicker and control their pain on their way to hospital. The benefit for the patient is obvious but by enabling us to get the patient’s pain under control quickly we can work more efficiently.”

Galen’s Managing Director, David Bennett, commented: “We are delighted to be able to bring this innovative product to the UK. At a time when UK Emergency Departments and Ambulance Trusts are experiencing significant pressures we are excited about the potential of Penthrox to improve service efficiencies as well as patient care.”

Penthrox has been studied in the UK in the STOP! study, a randomised, double-blind, multicentre, placebo-controlled study of 300 trauma patients in the Emergency Department conducted at 6 sites in the UK2. Time to first pain relief was within 10 breaths for 84.6% of patients in the methoxyflurane group2. Methoxyflurane reduced pain severity significantly more than placebo (p<0.0001) at all timepoints tested. Penthrox was well tolerated, with the majority of side effects being mild and transient2. One 3 mL bottle of Penthrox provides pain relief for 25 – 30 minutes when used continuously, and up to 1 hour with intermittent use1.

About Penthrox:
Penthrox is licensed for emergency relief of moderate to severe pain in conscious adult patients with trauma and associated pain. Penthrox should be self-administered under supervision of a person trained in its administration, using the handheld Penthrox Inhaler1. Before administering Penthrox, healthcare professionals are advised to ensure they have read and fully understood the SmPC and educational materials. Penthrox educational materials and training on its administration are available from Galen on request.