‘Cutting-edge’ pain relief makes search and rescue debut in Campbell River

Recentlyy approved pain-relieving inhaler will allow teams to look at different extraction options

Campbell River Search and Rescue has added a “cutting-edge pre-hospital” drug to its toolbox.

The group announced on its Facebook page on Oct. 26 that teams now have the ability to use Penthrox on calls.

Also known as Methoxyflurane, Penthrox is a non-opioid inhalation anaesthetic that reduces pain in trauma patients.

The drug has only been approved for use in B.C. recently, said Campbell River SAR, one of the first SAR groups in the province to use it in the field. The drug received Health Canada approval in 2018.

“This will allow us to provide pre-hospital pain control where in cases a subject might have had to endure a long stretcher pack or helicopter ride with a broken bone or trauma, we can now provide superior pain control within minutes.”

The group said that members also have the ability to use epinephrine/diphenhydramine for patients suffering an allergic reaction, ASA for strokes and Entonox, an inhaled gas that is also used for pain relief.

The group said that Penthrox can be used in more situations than Entonox.

“For the most part, a large portion of the people we come in contact with during medical emergencies will be able to have Penthrox administered to them,” said Campbell River SAR. “This is a great benefit for us in regards to making the subjects more comfortable for travel and allows us to explore extraction options that might normally be off-limits due to extreme pain.”

According to Campbell River SAR, Penthrox acts quickly – within two minutes – and can last up to half-an-hour.

“Currently 10 of our members are licensed to provide advanced medical protocols,” said SAR. “These members have very high levels of first aid plus advanced protocol training to provide drugs in the field.”

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