Metered-dose inhaler (MDI) administration - no spacer; Bronchial nebulizer; Wheezing - nebulizer; Reactive airway - nebulizer; COPD - nebulizer; Chronic bronchitis - nebulizer; Emphysema - nebulizer
Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) seems simple. But many people do not use them the right way. If you use your MDI the wrong way, less medicine gets to your lungs, and most remains in the back of your mouth. If you have a spacer, use it. It helps get more medicine into your airways.
(The instructions below are not for dry powder inhalers. They have different instructions.)
Look at the hole where the medicine sprays out of your inhaler. If you see powder in or around the hole, clean your inhaler.
Most inhalers come with counters on the canister. Keep an eye on the counter and replace the inhaler before you run out of medicine.
DO NOT put your canister in water to see if it is empty. This does not work.
Bring your inhaler to your clinic appointments. Your provider can make sure you are using it the right way.
Store your inhaler at room temperature. It may not work well if it is too cold. The medicine in the canister is under pressure. So make sure you do not get it too hot or puncture it.
Laube BL, Dolovich MB. Aerosols and aerosol drug delivery systems. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehir RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 63.
Waller DG, Sampson AP. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In: Waller DG, Sampson AP, eds. Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 12.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 1/13/2020
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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