A Comprehensive Guide to Inhalers

November 14, 2023

Living with asthma can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can effectively
manage your symptoms and lead a fulfilling life. One essential tool in asthma management is the
inhaler. In this patient education blog, we will explore different types of inhalers used in asthma
treatment, their proper usage techniques, and provide references to support the information shared.

Understanding Asthma:

To comprehend the importance of inhalers, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of asthma.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways,
leading to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.1

Types of Inhalers:

Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs): MDIs are the most used inhalers. They deliver medication in the form of
a fine mist when activated. Understanding how to use an MDI properly is essential for effective
Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs): DPIs deliver medication in the form of a dry powder when you inhale
forcefully. DPIs do not require coordination between activation and inhalation like MDIs. Learn the
correct technique for using DPIs to maximize their benefits.3
Soft Mist Inhalers (SMIs): SMIs deliver medication as a slow-moving soft mist. They are helpful for
individuals who have difficulty using MDIs or DPIs. Explore the usage technique and advantages of

Inhaler Technique:

To ensure optimal medication delivery, proper inhaler technique is crucial. Each type of inhaler has
specific instructions to follow. Understanding the correct steps can improve the effectiveness of your
asthma treatment. Refer to reputable sources and instructional videos to learn more about the correct
technique for each type of inhaler. 5,6

Spacers and Valved Holding Chambers:

Spacers and valved holding chambers are devices that can be used with MDIs to enhance drug
delivery. They help overcome difficulties in coordinating inhalation and activation, improve medication
deposition, and reduce side effects. Learn about the benefits and correct usage of these devices.7

Inhaler Maintenance and Care:

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your inhalers, proper maintenance and care are essential.
Regular cleaning and following the manufacturer’s instructions can prevent blockages and
contamination. Understand the specific cleaning and maintenance requirements for each type of


Inhalers are indispensable in the management of asthma. By understanding the different types of
inhalers, their correct usage techniques, and the importance of maintenance, you can optimize your
asthma treatment and improve your quality of life. Remember to consult your healthcare provider for
personalized guidance and support.


  1. Global Initiative for Asthma. (2021). Global strategy for asthma management and prevention (2021 update). Retrieved from https://ginasthma.org/reports/
  2. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (n.d.). Metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with spacer. Retrieved from https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/mdis-with-spacers
  3. American Lung Association. (n.d.). Dry powder inhalers. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/living-with-asthma/managing-asthma/dry-powder-inhalers
  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (n.d.). Soft mist inhalers. Retrieved from https://www.aafa.org/soft-mist-inhalers/
  5. Respiratory Eectiveness Group. (n.d.). Inhaler technique videos. Retrieved from https://www.regresearchnetwork.org/resources/inhaler-technique-videos
  6. Asthma UK. (n.d.). How to use your inhaler. Retrieved from https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/inhalers-medicines-treatments/using-inhalers/
  7. British Thoracic Society. (2019). Inhaler devices for obstructive lung disease: A practical guide for patients. Retrieved from
  8. National Health Service. (2020). How to clean and care for your inhalers. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/how-do-i-look-after-my-inhalers/
Disclaimer: This material is for informational purpose only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional.  You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.