• Question: Why does the inhaler have to spray on skin?

    Asked by Dylan to CLICK Federation on 25 Jan 2019.
    • Photo: CLICK Federation

      CLICK Federation answered on 25 Jan 2019:

      This was in response to a question about the most weird prescription I’ve seen.

      Inhalers are used to inhale medicines into the lungs but a dermatologist wrote a prescription for an inhaler to be used on the skin. This is what we call “off-license” prescribing and it is when a prescriber asks for something to be used in a way in which it is not meant to. Sort of like if you used a book as a doorstop. Books are used for reading but could work as a doorstop if there is nothing better.

      I’m not sure of the reason why exactly but the patient couldn’t use a normal steroid cream or ointment, so the prescriber asked the patient to spray the inhaler on a small patch of skin. The propellant would evaporate and leave a fine powder of medicine on the skin which would have the desired effect. I thought the prescription was a mistake so called the prescriber who confirmed that the inhaler was what was intended.

      To be clear, inhalers should not be used on the skin because there are far better ways to get medicine into the skin like a cream or an ointment, but in this case the doctor thought that it was the best way to get the desired result.