Buying inhalers online?

It seems that we can pretty much buy anything online these days, but does anyone know if it's possible to buy inhalers online? I see training inhalers for sale along side the big nebulisers which plug into the wall - not really what I'm after! I know it's not ideal to buy online, but if I'm at work all week and can't get time off to get to the doctors surgery, but I'm running out of the preventer aerosol inhaler, it'd make life a lot easier for me if I could just order online and have it delivered right to my door! I've been in a situation before where my inhaler's ran out completely, but I simply haven't been able to make it to the surgery, and have ended up having an attack and having to visit the hospital. I'd rather that didn;t happen again.

8 Replies

  • Hello,

    I am troubled by you asking this question, and by the impression it may give to other board users.

    Buying inhalers on-line is not to be recommended, for many reasons. Your GP needs to have a clear idea of how much of your inhalers you are using, to monitor the severity of your asthma, so if you buy on-line it will make their records inaccurate. Medications that can be bought on-line are also often not subject to the same regulations and quality controls as those provided on prescription, and indeed may sometimes be a totally different drug or a formulation that is not delivered correctly. As well as this, anyone with asthma should be reviewed by their GP or asthma nurse regularly, so that their condition can be monitored and medication adjusted as appropriate. If you buy medication on-line without a prescription, you are denying your GP the opportunity to perform this review and are putting yourself at risk.

    It is usually not necessary to go in to the practice to order a repeat - often you can send the repeat form by post or request it by phone. Many pharmacies will then pick up the script from the GP and fill it for you, leaving it for you to collect or even in some cases, delivering it. You will still have to go into your GPs for occasional reviews, but, as stated above, this is done for very good reasons.

    I know it can be awkward and inconvenient to have to go to your GP's surgery for medication reviews and so on when you are feeling well, but at the end of the day, we all have to take responsibility for our own health, and that includes not running out of medication.

    Em H

    (doctor and AUK forum moderator)

  • :eek:

    It was a genuine question - I do apologise! What you've said does make perfect sense, of course.

    Sorry! Gawd I feel so naughty tonight for this! I'm ashamed of myself for being so stupid! :p

    Please feel free to delete this thread if you think it'll lead others in the wrong direction.

  • Yes, I agree with Em. There are no regulations to ensure the safety or quality of products bought online - and there is not likely to be a guarantee if things go wrong.

    If you have run out of medication - something I admit that I have done before, though not with inhalers - then you can get an emergency supply from a pharmacist by showing them your repeat script slip. They can supply you with an emergency inhaler or so many days' worth of medication - and this is likely to be much quicker than ordering it online, too!

  • Oooops - cross posted!

    No problem, Doobery - in fact it's probably brought up an issue that needs discussing, as I'm sure other users will also have thought of it. It's worth leaving it for others to read too, so that everyone knows the facts about it - and also about obtaining medication in an emergency if you run out.


  • Don't worry about it, doobery, I realise it was a genuine question and that you weren't intending to promote unsafe behaviour! That's why I left it, and responded to it, rather than deleting it - that and the fact that, as CathBear says, others have doubtless thought of it.

    It's just that it is very unsafe - I've seen patients come to serious harm from drugs purchased inappropriately on the internet - so obviously I wanted to make it very clear to everyone that it is a bad idea.


  • Cheers for the replies, and for being understanding. I'm glad I asked on here and not some dodgy website where people might've given me links to dodgy dealers!

  • i am on 1st name terms with my local boots pharmacy team. I ring htem up, they order my meds and i pick them up form htem - normally on a saturday when i'm not at work - it's quick and easy and i just go in and pick them up - no hassle at all, also they always order my repeats so if i'm given any additional meds they also double check that they won't react with my current ones or tlak to me about how to use them etc which i find really useful. I konw as Em H said a lot of other ones do it too - well worth it.

  • My boots pharmacy will order and collect my repeats from my doctors surgery and then deliver my meds to my house if I'm not able to collect them from the pharmacy myself. This is what I used to do when on teaching practice and unable to get to the surgery in the week. I can also request my repeats online through the practice website.

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