Next time you wrap your lips around a green whistle, just know that you've got a little Aussie innovation relieving your pain.
Remember when your mum told you not to ride on the handle bars of your friends pushy, and you did it anyway and subsequently fell and broke your leg (sorry Mum!)? And remember when those extremely kind ambos gave you a green whistle to help take the pain away? This might be an oddly specific example, but thousands of Aussies each year need these whistles when they fall off their bikes, injure themselves during footy or any other stereotypical Australian pastime. In fact, the green whistle (officially know as Penthrox) is administered during one in five ambulance trips across the country.
Most of us have (unfortunately) used the whistle or seen someone else relieving their pain with it. There are four key reasons why it’s great:
- It helps take the pain away
- It’s non addictive
- It lets people control their own medication
- It makes for some pretty great YouTube videos
Blowing our own whistle
So you know it’s green, it helps with pain and it’s not actually a whistle (you suck it in, not out, for those of you that haven’t used one!), but did you know we have a pretty big hand in making these sweet little pain-relievers? We worked with Medical Developments International (MDI) to create the manufacturing process that’s used to produce the green whistle. Our processing chemists got together with MDI and developed a new method for manufacturing Methoxyflurane (the key ingredient) that speeds up the production process while cutting costs. The green whistle also beats out other analgesics, such as nitrous oxide and morphine, in that it is fast acting, self-administered, non-addictive, non-narcotic and very safe to use. In fact, MDI is the only company on the planet making Penthrox, which means they’re a pretty hot commodity.
It turns out that it’s not just Aussies that need a bit of pain relief, our friends around the world are pretty accident prone too! After selling millions of whistles in Australia, the world-wide need for pain relief has meant that this Aussie innovation has gone global. To help keep up with the demand MDI has opened up an even bigger and better factory – drawing in a good feeling into the local economy.
So be safe out there folks – but just in case you do end up sucking on the whistle, know you’ve got a tasty Aussie innovation in your mouth.
Check out more of our tasty biomedical innovations here (we just can’t guarantee that you can put these ones in your mouth!).
22nd June 2017 at 2:29 pm
The use of methoxyflurane has long been abandoned in the US because of its renal toxicity in high anesthetic doses. It’s safety margin in much smaller analgesic doses as dispensed in the green whistle is hopefully a lot greater
27th March 2017 at 9:07 am
Your green whistle (and our excellent Paramedics) have done so much excellent pain relief for people with acute injuries, that I cannot tell you what an impact it has had on them, and better still, on their recovery. Thank you.
23rd March 2017 at 6:05 pm
Can you tell us about the long term effects on ambulance workers dispensing methoxyflurane in the enclosed space of and ambulance?
27th March 2017 at 11:30 am
Thanks for your question! We’ve passed your enquiry on to MDI and they’ll be in touch with you shortly.
CSIRO Social Media
22nd March 2017 at 8:42 am
Well done CSRIO leading he world in innovation and technology also providing employment in Australia!
21st March 2017 at 8:23 pm
Awesome work CSIRO and MDI. I have unfortunately been a user of the green whistle 2 times and I was very greatful it was available.