The metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a container of medicine that releases a mist of medicine. You inhale the medicine through your mouth into the airways of your lungs.
Metered dose inhalers contain a gas that helps the medicine get into your lungs. Inhalers used to contain CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) gas, which is harmful to the environment. A different gas is now used in inhalers. The spray comes out with less force, is warmer, and has a slightly different taste than the CFS gas. You won’t feel it as much in the throat when you inhale the medicine, but you still get the right amount of medicine.
The inhaler can be used alone, but it is highly recommended that you use a spacer attached to the inhaler because it helps you get more medicine into your lungs.
Several different types or combinations of medicines are available as metered-dose inhalers, including:
If you are using more than one type of inhaler, you will usually use the bronchodilator first.
There are several ways to use an inhaler. If you do not have a spacer available, the technique most often recommended is as follows:
The best way to use some other types of inhalers is to place the inhaler mouthpiece directly into your mouth and close your lips snugly around it.
Talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the best way to use the inhaler that has been prescribed for you.
Take a few normal breaths, and then shake the medicine again and repeat steps 3 through 8 for another inhalation (puff) if required. Take the number of puffs prescribed by your healthcare provider.
If you are taking an inhaled steroid medicine rinse your mouth with water after the last dose and spit the water out.
Wash the plastic case for the inhaler once a week with soapy tap water. Rinse well and let the parts air dry.
Do not store your inhaler in places that may get very hot or cold (like a car).