Ventolin vs Salamol: expert review

Ventolin vs Salamol – Best Facts for You

Ventolin and Salamol are the names of two brands of commonly prescribed inhalers usually for symptomatic management of asthma. Both inhalers contain the same active ingredient, namely salbutamol. What are the similarities and differences between both inhales? Ventolin vs Salamol explores similarities and differences between both inhalers.

Ventolin vs Salamol: an active ingredient

As previously mentioned both inhalers, Ventolin and Salamol contain the same active ingredient – salbutamol. Each dose in both inhalers contains salbutamol sulfate equivalent to 100 micrograms of salbutamol. Ventolin and Salamol inhalers are of the same strength.

What is salbutamol?

Salbutamol medication is used to treat and prevent bronchospasm (narrowing) associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Salbutamol is a bronchodilator. It belongs to a class of medications known as short-acting beta-2 agonists (SABAs).

It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways to the lungs, making it easier to breathe. This relaxation leads to the widening of the airways, which helps to relieve symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

As a fast-acting medication, it typically begins to work within minutes when inhaled, providing quick relief from acute symptoms.

What is the legal classification of Salamol and Ventolin?

Both inhalers are classified in the UK as prescription-only medicines (POM), which means that a GP or another qualified prescriber needs to issue a prescription for the supply to happen.

Ventolin vs Salamol: the design

Both inhalers are pressure dose inhalers and therefore have the same key features, with one noticeable difference in the design. These features are:

Canister: This is the central component that contains the medication, usually a mixture of salbutamol and a propellant. The canister is pressurized, allowing the medication to be released as a fine spray.

Mouthpiece: This is where the patient places their mouth to inhale the medication. It’s designed to fit comfortably and securely in the mouth, ensuring that the medication is inhaled properly into the lungs.

Actuator: The actuator is the part of the inhaler that the patient presses down to release a dose of medication. It includes a nozzle that creates a fine mist when the canister is pressed, allowing for deep lung penetration of the medication.

Protective Cap: A cap covers the mouthpiece when not in use to keep it clean and free from debris.

Aerosol Formulation: The medication in the canister is stored in an aerosol form. When the inhaler is activated, the medication is released as a fine, metered spray, making it easy to inhale deeply into the lungs.

What is the difference between Ventolin and Salamol design?

The Salamol inhaler is noticeably smaller than the Ventolin inhaler. This should not make a difference to most patients, however, some patients may find it more difficult to use it. Some patients may find it more difficult for to hold it and coordinate the activation of the inhaler.

Why are GP surgeries switching patients from Ventolin (or generic Salbutamol) to Salamol inhalers?

Inhalers contribute to 3% of the total carbon footprint of the NHS, which is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 80% by 2032 (NHS, 2022).

Some salbutamol inhalers, also recognized as aerosol spray inhalers or ‘puffers’, utilize a propellant gas known as hydrofluorocarbons, which significantly contribute to climate change as powerful greenhouse gases. Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are a significant part of this impact. These greenhouse gases are 1,000 to 3,000 times more potent than CO2 (carbon dioxide). In the UK, around 70% of inhalers are MDIs, a percentage that is considerably higher compared to many other European countries.

Initially, when a proposed switch was implemented, a salbutamol inhaler (Ventolin) had a carbon footprint more than double that of a Salamol inhaler, despite both delivering the same medication, employing similar devices, and providing the same dosage.

Today, the Ventolin inhaler does not use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants and uses the same propellant which is found in the Salamol inhaler (HFA-134a propellant / CFC-Free Inhaler). 

What is the impact of the switch on patients?

Prescriptions written in a generic form, calling for a salbutamol inhaler gave a pharmacy the choice of dispensing either Salamol or Ventolin inhaler. Since the switch pharmacies need to follow the directions on prescriptions and therefore if a Salamol inhaler is prescribed, the patient receives this brand of inhaler.

What if I don’t like the Salamol inhaler?

Patients need to speak to GP surgery and ask them to either change their prescription from Salamol to a generic form of salbutamol inhaler or another brand e.g. Ventolin.

Ventolin vs Salamol: conclusion

In conclusion, Ventolin and Salamol are two brands of inhalers both containing the active ingredient salbutamol, used primarily in the management of asthma and COPD. While they share similarities in formulation, strength, and mechanism of action as bronchodilators, there are notable differences in their design and environmental impact.

Salamol’s smaller size may affect ease of use for some patients. Environmentally, the switch from Ventolin to Salamol has been driven by efforts to reduce carbon emissions, as Salamol initially had a smaller carbon footprint. However, both now employ the same eco-friendly propellant. The environmental impact is now questionable since Ventolin is CFC-free now.

The impact of this switch on patients is significant, as it restricts the choice of inhalers dispensed by pharmacies based on specific prescriptions.

This comparison underscores the importance of considering both medical efficacy and environmental impact in healthcare decisions, while also highlighting the need for patient-centred care in managing chronic respiratory conditions.


Is Salamol stronger than Ventolin?

No. Both Salamol and Ventolin are of the same strength. Both inhalers provide 100 micrograms of salbutamol per metered-dose.

Why change Ventolin to Salamol?

GP surgeries in the UK are switching patients from Ventolin to Salamol due to difference in environmental impact between inhalers, which is questionable since, Ventolin inhaler was reformulated.

Is Salamol inhaler a steroid?

Salamol inhaler is not a steroid inhaler. Salamol inhaler contains salbutamol which is not a steroid but a bronchodilator.

Is Salamol a reliever or preventer?

Salamol is a reliever inhaler. Salamol is classified as a reliever inhaler due to its fast-acting nature and its role in providing immediate relief from the symptoms of asthma and other similar respiratory conditions.


NHS (2022). Delivering a ‘Net zero’ National Health Service July 2022. Available at: Accessed on 28/12/2023


I am a qualified pharmacist working in an independent pharmacy in the UK.
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