Thursday, January 24, 2013

Metered Dose Inhaler Advantages

A metered dose inhaler is an effective method for treating asthma and COPD.

A metered dose inhaler (MDI) is a hand-held pressurized canister that delivers a mist of aerosolized medication to the lungs. This device is a common way of treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Medications used most often with MDI include bronchodilators and corticosteriods. MDI is a popular treatment because of its portability and efficiency.


The MDI is an inexpensive and effective method for treating asthma and COPD. The inhaler is fast to use and provides immediate relief for breathing problems. The metered dose inhaler is small and easy to carry. The plastic-covered metal canister is resistant to breakage.


The metered dose inhaler can be a less effective treatment than nebulized medication given with supplemental oxygen. There is concern for non-adherence to the treatment, especially in children. Some patients find it difficult to coordinate activating the inhaler and taking in the medication. Improper inhalation technique can lead to inhaling the medication into the mouth or throat.

Correct Usage

It is important to use the MDI in the appropriate manner so medication reaches the small airways inside the lungs. Hold the device with the mouthpiece down, shake and use an open-mouth method with mouthpiece approximately 2 inches from your mouth or a closed-mouth method with lips sealed around the mouthpiece. Blow air out of the lungs and tilt head back. Press the inhaler while simultaneously taking in a deep breath. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, then resume normal breathing.

Spacer Device

Some patients use the MDI with a spacer device, plastic tubing that attaches over the MDI with an end that serves as a mouthpiece. Medicine collects inside the spacer and gives the patient more time to properly inhale the dose. The spacer is especially helpful for babies and children who use an MDI.


Checking the inhalation technique in front of the mirror enables you to ensure proper inhalation. Mist visible from the mouth or nose means the medicine is not reaching the lungs. Patients who find the technique difficult have other types of inhalers available. Check with your health care professional for information on alternatives. Some patients find it helpful to hold the inhaler with both hands while administering a dose. Keep MDIs clean to prevent medication from clogging the device. Inhaler medication is dangerous to eyes. Take all doses at the amount and time prescribed.

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