Diseases affecting the lungs—such as
chronic bronchitis, and
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—share
many of the same medicines. These medicines are often delivered through a
Using an MDI:
Delivers most of a measured dose of medicine
directly to your lungs.
Can help keep your symptoms under control
and minimize long-term damage to your lungs.
May prevent or
reduce side effects of the medicine.
May let you use less
medicine than is found in a pill but get the same effect.
result in the medicine working faster than a pill form.
How to use a metered-dose inhaler
Talk with your doctor to be sure that you are
using your MDI correctly. It might help if you practice using it in front of a
mirror. Use the inhaler exactly as your doctor has
Check that you have the correct medicine. If you use
several inhalers, put a label on each one so that you know which one to use at
the right time.
Check how much medicine is in the inhaler. Check
the label of your inhaler medicine to see how many inhalations should be in the
canister. If you know how many breaths you can take, you can replace your
inhaler before you run out. Learn how to test your canister to estimate how
much medicine is left. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you with
Use a spacer if you have problems getting the correct timing
when you use an inhaler or if you are using steroid medicine.
Using an MDI
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:
If you are inhaling steroid medicine,
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 liquid 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.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKen Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology