Inhaler Technique

What is an inhaler?

An inhaler is a device holding a medicine that you take by breathing in (inhaling). Inhalers are commonly used to treat and prevent the symptoms of asthma, COPD and bronchitis. 

Different inhaler devices suit different people. Inhaler devices can be divided into four main groups:
Pressurised metered dose inhalers (MDIs).
Breath-activated inhalers - MDIs and dry powder inhalers.
Inhalers with spacer devices.

How to choose an inhaler device that is suitable for you?

This depends on various factors such as:
Convenience. Some inhalers are small, can go easily in a pocket, and are quick to use. For example, the standard MDI inhaler.
Your age. Children under the age of 6 years generally cannot use dry powder inhalers. This is because such a strong breath is needed to inhale the medicine within the inhaler. Children aged under 12 years generally cannot use standard MDI inhalers without a spacer. Some elderly people find the MDI inhalers difficult to use.
Your co-ordination. Some devices need more co-ordination than others.
Side-effects. Some of the inhaler medicine hits the back of the throat. Sometimes this can cause problems such as thrush in the mouth. This tends to be more of a problem with higher doses of steroid inhalers. Less medicine hits the throat when using a spacer device. Therefore, a spacer device may be advised if you get throat problems, or need a high dose of inhaled steroid.

What is involved?

Our pharmacists can provide excellent support and advice on the correct technique of using your inhaler and managing your asthma medication. Using an inhaler is very effective, because inhaling the medicine takes it straight into your lungs. Unfortunately, many people are unsure of the correct technique for using their inhaler. When used incorrectly medication does not get to the lungs, where it is needed. Call into one of our stores and the pharmacist team will be happy to help you with your inhaler technique to ensure you are getting the optimum result from your medicine

Why is proper inhaler technique important?

It is important that you take your asthma medicine properly and that your doctor, pharmacist or asthma nurse has explained how to use inhalers properly so that every dose you take gives you the most benefit and minimal side effects.