How to Use a Penthrox Inhaler

Sep 13, 2022

How to Use a Penthrox Inhaler

Medical care providers in several areas of the world use Penthrox inhalers or methoxyflurane as a fast-acting, short-duration pain relief medication during medical procedures or when responding to traumatic medical events.

While patients may self-administer Penthrox, it must be done under the supervision of a trained professional. So, how do you ensure that you’re administering methoxyflurane safely? Here’s what you need to know about the Penthrox inhaler and how to use it.

What is Penthrox?

Penthrox is a fast-acting, non-opioid analgesic and is one of the most commonly used inhalation anaesthetics in medical settings. It is specifically used to reduce the severity of pain during procedures such as surgery or in emergencies where other anaesthetic options may not be feasible or as effective.

Setting up and using a Penthrox device is simple, which allows pain relief to begin almost immediately. A Penthrox device — also known as a green whistle — consists of an inhaler, mouthpiece and an Activated Carbon (AC) Chamber. Each inhaler comes with two 3 mL bottles of methoxyflurane for a maximum recommended dose of 6 mL. Methoxyflurane is a clear, colourless liquid with a distinctive fruity smell.

As with any medical device, it’s important to understand how to use the Penthrox inhaler correctly. Proper administration will provide patients with an effective pain management resource; improper administration can increase side effects or result in serious health issues.

The 7 steps for administrating Penthrox

  • Step 1: Insert the AC Chamber into the top of the inhaler.
  • Step 2: Twist the bottom of the inhaler to remove the cap.
  • Step 3: Tilt the inhaler up and pour the contents of one bottle of Penthrox (3 mL) into the base of the inhaler, rotating the inhaler to ensure that the methoxyflurane is evenly distributed inside. Replace the cap.
  • Step 4: Place the wrist loop over the patient’s wrist.
  • Step 5: The patient will take several gentle breaths to ensure they don’t have difficulty breathing with the inhaler. After this, they may breathe normally. Next, the patient must exhale into the Penthrox device to prevent methoxyflurane from escaping into the air.
  • Step 6: For a stronger effect, the patient can cover the diluter hole on the AC Chamber.
  • Step 7: The patient will continue to use the inhaler as needed to achieve analgesia until the pain remits or until the patient inhales the maximum dose. Each 3 mL bottle of Penthrox can provide up to 30 minutes of pain relief with continuous inhalation or longer pain relief if used intermittently.

Penthrox inhalers: How to use them safely

There are some risks associated with methoxyflurane. At high doses, Penthrox can cause significant liver problems as well as other health issues, which may include:

  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Hypotension and other cardiovascular issues
  • Respiratory depression
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Occupational exposure to methoxyflurane
  • Allergic reactions

Additionally, some common side effects can occur with any level of methoxyflurane. This includes dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, feelings of fatigue and more. To combat these risks, medical professionals should:

  • Only administer the lowest dose of methoxyflurane possible.
  • Never exceed 6 mL of methoxyflurane in one 24-hour period.
  • Never administer more than 15 mL of methoxyflurane per week.Avoid administering Penthrox to patients with a history of liver damage, renal impairment, who are taking drugs that have a nephrotoxic effect, head injuries, who are under the influence, who are susceptible to malignant hyperthermia or who have other health issues that may interfere with this treatment.
  • Always watch the patient for adverse reactions or other issues after administering methoxyflurane.
  • Always ensure the patient is administering Penthrox correctly, i.e., exhaling through the mouthpiece.
  • Properly dispose of all unused Penthrox and related supplies immediately after use.

Order Penthrox inhalers and other medical supplies from Mega Medical

At Mega Medical, we’re proud to be one of Australia’s largest providers of quality medical equipment and supplies. As part of our comprehensive range, we stock single combo inhalers and bulk packs of Penthrox, which are ideal for medical clinics, hospitals and emergency responders.

To learn more about our Penthrox products or explore our entire medical supplies collection, visit us online. For questions or if you need assistance, please reach out to us on 1300 881 824.