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Inhalers for Asthma

Inhalers for Asthma

Inhalers are the main source of treatment for asthmatic patients and enables them to lead active lives without the fear of an attack. This article will give some more information about the inhalers for asthma.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
Asthma is a chronic lung disease, which inflames and narrows the airways. It causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. It is believed to be caused by a complex interaction of environmental and genetic factors. It affects people of all ages, but is more dominant during childhood. An inhaler is a hand-held device, which provides medication directly into the airways. The medications can be taken orally and intravenously, but with this device, it goes straight into the lungs and quickly relieves the patient from the symptoms with minimum side effects.


1.Metered Dose Inhalers(MDIs)

They utilize a chemical propellant to propel an evaluated dose of medication. They comprise a mouthpiece, a pressurized canister having medication, and a metering valve, which dispenses the right dose of medication. The medicine is released either by inhaling or squeezing the canister. Some of them have counters to know how many doses are remaining. If there is no counter, the patient needs to keep a track of the number of doses used in order to know when the device would be out of medication. The chemical propellant commonly used is chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). But since it damages the ozone layer, other propellants like hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) are now been used. The dose of medicine released by the ones containing HFA is more soft, warm, and reaches directly to the lungs.

2.Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs)

They do not have a gas propellant to propel the drug out of a canister. Each dose contains a small amount of drug in a powder form, which the patient has to suck in. The patient has to breathe in very hard to get the powder into his lungs. Most adults and older children find it easy to operate, but young children may find it difficult to breathe in so hard and suck in the powder. They may be difficult to use, especially during an asthma attack, as during such times, it is hard to catch a deep breath anyway. On the other hand, some find them easier as compared to the previous one, as the hand-lung coordination is not needed. They are categorized as powder disk, dry powder tube, and single-dose dry powder disk inhaler. Spacers are not required to be used with them.


A spacer is a tube, which is attached to the inhaler and holds the medicine until the patient doesn't breathe in completely. It gives more time to inhale slowly, and decreases the amount of medication that deposits on the back of the patient's throat and tongue. It makes the use of the device simpler, and helps in depositing the medicine into the lungs more efficiently. In this, the hand-breath coordination is not important, and deep and fast breathing is not required. This type requires regular cleansing with soap and water.

This equipment has transformed the treatment of asthma and other lung diseases. They are the most effective way of providing life-saving medication to the patients. Although there are hardly any side effects, it is always advisable to consult a doctor before using any type of inhaler.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.