Top of the pageActionset
Diseases affecting the lungs—such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—share many of the same medicines. These medicines are often delivered through a metered-dose inhaler (MDI).
Using an MDI:
A metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a handheld device that delivers a measured dose of medicine directly to your lungs. The medicine is usually in an aerosol form.
Using a spacer with an MDI is the most efficient way to get the most medicine to your lungs. A spacer functions as a "holding" area for the medicine before you inhale. Using a spacer with your MDI can improve the delivery of the medicine and help you if you have problems with releasing the medicine as you inhale. It might help to practice using the MDI and spacer in front of the mirror. A spacer should always be used with inhaled corticosteroids to avoid side effects.
An MDI can be used to give different types of medicine. The type of medicine in your inhaler will depend on what type of medicine you need to treat your specific condition. For example, the inhaler may contain a medicine to prevent an asthma attack or medicine to help relieve the symptoms of COPD.
For some medicines, you may need a certain type of MDI. Always check with your doctor and pharmacist when getting a new MDI.
Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is beneficial because:
An MDI may help avoid side effects of medicine.
An MDI may help avoid side effects of medicine because, when used effectively, most of the medicine goes to your lungs and does not travel to other parts the body.
An MDI may help avoid side effects of medicine because, when used effectively, most of the medicine goes to your lungs and does not travel to other parts of the body.
Using a spacer with an MDI is the most efficient way to get the most medicine to your lungs. Make sure you understand the proper use of an:
Although using an MDI with a spacer is usually recommended, you can also use an MDI without a spacer. Learn the proper use of an:
If you are using a corticosteroid inhaler, rinse your mouth out with water after use. Don't swallow the water. Swallowing the water will increase the chance that the medicine will get into your bloodstream. This may increase the side effects of the medicine.
Some powder may build up on the inhaler, but you may not need to clean the inhaler every day. Follow the directions for how and how often to clean the type of MDI you have.
Using a spacer with an MDI is the most efficient way to get the most medicine to your lungs.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to start using a metered-dose inhaler.
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor.
Return to topic:
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.