Using a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) seems simple, but most patients do not use it the right way. When you use your MDI the wrong way, less medicine gets to your lungs. (Note: Dry powder inhalers require different instructions.)
- Take off the cap and shake the inhaler hard.
- Breathe out all the way.
- Hold the inhaler 1 - 2 inches in front of your mouth (about the width of two fingers). Alternatively, place the MDI into a spacer and insert the spacer into your mouth.
Breathe in slowly
- Start breathing in slowly through your mouth, and then press down on the inhaler one time. (If you use a spacer, first press down on the inhaler. Within 5 seconds, begin to breathe in slowly.)
- Keep breathing in slowly, as deeply as you can.
Hold your breath
- Hold your breath as you count to 10 slowly, if you can. This lets the medicine reach deep into your lungs.
- For inhaled quick-relief medicine (beta-agonists), wait about 1 minute between puffs. There is no need to wait between puffs for other medicines.
- Rinse your mouth afterward, to help reduce unwanted side effects.
Clean your inhaler as needed
Look at the hole where the medicine sprays out from your inhaler. If you see powder in or around the hole, clean the inhaler. Remove the metal canister from the L-shaped plastic mouthpiece. Rinse only the mouthpiece and cap in warm water. Let them dry overnight. In the morning, put the canister back inside. Put the cap on.
Know when to replace your inhaler
For control medicines you take each day, write the date you need to replace it on the canister.
For example, say your new canister has 200 puffs (number of puffs is listed on canister) and you are told to take 8 puffs per day. This canister will last 25 days. If you started using this inhaler on May 1, replace it on or before May 25. Write the date on your canister.
Do NOT put your canister in water to see if it is empty. This does not work.
Don't forget to bring your inhaler with you to medical appointments, so your doctor can make sure you are still using it correctly.
Created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Modified by A.D.A.M., Inc.
Review Date: 6/29/2012
Reviewed By: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Previoulsy reviewed by David A. Kaufman, MD, Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Bridgeport Hospital-Yale New Haven Health System, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. (6/1/2010)
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC,
also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC'saccreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.