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Asthma medicine devices

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Video: Asthma Medicine Devices

Most asthma medicines need to get into the lungs to work. It is very important that you know how to use the asthma medicines the right way. You can ask the pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to show you.

There are 4 devices that can be used to take asthma medicine:

1. Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)- commonly called a pump or puffer

  • A metered dose inhaler holds medicine inside of a can.
  • The medicine is mixed with a safe gas that pushes the medicine out very fast.
  • The medicine comes out in the form of a mist which can be breathed into the lungs.
  • When the inhaler is pumped, it gives just the right amount of medicine with each pump.
  • A spacer should always be used when taking this medicine.
  • An inhaler can travel with you when you leave home. Spacers are always used with metered dose inhalers. It helps slow down the speed of the medicine so it can get into the lungs and not to other parts of the body. 

2. Dry Powdered Inhaler (DPI)

  • A dry powdered inhaler holds powdered medicine inside of it.
  • The medicine comes out in the form of a powder, which can be breathed into the lungs.
  • When the inhaler is ready to use, it gives just the right amount of medicine.
  • In order to get the medicine in the lungs, you have to breathe in deep and fast.
  • A spacer should not be used when taking this medicine.
  • An inhaler can travel with you when you leave home.

3. Respimat® Soft Mist Inhaler (SMI)

  • A Soft Mist Inhaler holds water-based medicines inside of a can.
  • The medicine comes out of the inhaler as slow mist and looks like a cloud.
  • There are no extra chemicals in the medicine to help it get to the lungs. When the inhaler is activated, just the right amount of medicine comes out.
  • A spacer should not be used when taking this medicine.
  • An inhaler can travel with you when you leave home.

Special instructions:

  • Make sure to keep track of the number of doses left in an inhaler. Some inhalers have a counter, and some do not. If the MDI does not have a dose counter, keep track of how many puffs are used each time the inhaler is used.
  • Do not keep the inhaler in very hot or very cold temperatures.
  • Use the inhaler only as directed by the doctor.
  • Do not let children play with a metered dose inhaler or a spacer.
  • One spacer can be used for all of your metered dose inhalers.
  • A spacer should last at least one year.

4. Nebulizer

  • A nebulizer mixes air with a liquid medicine to make a mist.
  • The mist is breathed into the lungs with a mask or a mouthpiece.
  • A nebulizer requires electricity or a battery.
  • It takes 10 to 15 minutes to take the medicine with a nebulizer.
  • Nebulizers do not work better than inhalers with a spacer.
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