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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Inhalers in Asthma

Inhalers in Asthma

Most asthma drugs are inhaled using special devices or nebulizers. Asthma inhalers are the most effective way of delivering life saving medications in asthma. With asthma inhaler the medication directly enters into the lungs to relieve asthma symptoms faster and with fewer side effects.


Types of asthma inhalers

  • Metered dose inhalers (MDI)
  • Metered dose inhalers with spacers
  • Dry powder inhalers
  • Nebulizers 

Metered dose inhalers (MDI)

Metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a device that delivers a specific amount of medication to the lungs, in the form of a short burst of aerosolized medicines. These inhalers consists of pressurized canister containing medications.

Metered dose inhalers with spacers

Spacer holds the medication after the medications is released, making it easier to inhale the full dose. Release of medication into the spacer gives time to inhale the medications more slowly.

Dry powder inhaler

Dry powder inhalers does not use chemical propellant to push the medication out of the inhaler. Here the medication is released by breathing in a deep, fast breath.

Asthma inhaler features


Metered dose inhalers

Metered dose inhalers with a spacers

Dry powder inhaler

Small and portable

More bulky and less portable

Small and portable

Doesn’t require fast and deep breathing

Doesn’t require fast and deep breathing

Require fast and deep breathing

Accidently breathing out is a little is not a problem

Accidently breathing out is a little is not a problem

Accidently breathing out is a little is a problem

Medications can struck in throat and tongue

Less medications settles in throat and tongue

Medications can struck in throat and tongue

Requires shaking and priming

Requires shaking and priming with proper use of spacer

Single dose models requires loading capsules for each use

Humidity does not affect medications

Humidity does not affects medications

Humidity affects medications



Other devices

  • Metered dose inhalers with face mask
  • Nebulizers

Drugs used in asthma inhalers

Anti inflammatory asthma inhalers  


Bronchodilator asthma inhalers

Best inhalers device to use

Children under the age of 6yrs generally cannot use dry powder inhalers.

Children under 12 yrs of age generally cannot use MDI inhalers without a spacer.

Adults, based on physician advice the inhalers to be used.

How to use inhalers (MDI) properly

  • Remove the cap from the asthma inhaler, shake and prime it well.
  • Place the index finger on top of the metal canister and thumb on the bottom of the plastic mouthpiece.
  • Tilt your head back slightly and breathe in and out
  • Open your mouth wide, and place the asthma inhaler in front of the mouth, breathe in and out one time.
  • Begin to inhale on your next breath, press the metal canister down.
  • Breathe in slowly and as deeply as you can. You should breathe in for about three to five seconds.
  • Hold your breath for at least 10 seconds to allow the medication to deposit in your lungs.
  • Replace the cap on your asthma inhaler when you are finished.
  • If asthma inhaler contains steroids, gargle and rinse the mouth with water or mouthwash after each use.