Metered Dose Inhaler

November 12, 2012

Metered Dose Inhaler

A drug MDI or metered dose inhaler is also known as a puffer or aerosol inhaler. This is used to deliver medicine straight into the lungs.

This metal canister which is pressurized contains medicine either in suspension or solution form which is contained in the plastic case along with a mouthpiece. By pushing the canister downwards the valve sends a fine mist of the correct dose of medicine which is inhaled into the lungs. If the metered dose inhaler is not used correctly it will mean the incorrect amount of medicine is not inhaled.

To achieve the maximum benefits on using a metered dose inhaler try the following:

  • Stand or sit up straight lifting your chin upwards to allow the airways to open.

  • Shake the inhaler in a vigorous manner and take the cap off

  • Spray the inhaler into the air to make sure it works if it hasn’t been used for over a week

  • Take in a couple of deep breaths and gently breathe out. Put the mouthpiece in straight away and hold between the lips.

  • Begin to slowly breathe in deeply. At the same time as breathing in press the canister down and the medicine will be released.

  • Make sure to breathe deeply to allow the medicine to go into the lungs

  • If you can hold a breath for approximately 10 seconds or longer if you can. Then slowly breathe out.

  • Wait 30 seconds before taking another puff of the inhaler

  • Always put the mouthpiece cap on

Speak with the doctor or pharmacist about techniques which can be used. It may be that the doctor or pharmacist suggests taking other types of inhalers which could be easier to use such as diskhalers, autohalers and accuhalers.

It is essential to keep the dose inhaler clean and it should be washed once a week. After removing the metal canister wash the cap and case in soapy water. Rinse after washing with warm water and leave to stand dry.

Use the dose inhaler and any other medicines as instructed by the doctor. And never give any medicines to others even if they are suffering the same symptoms.

Inhalers are normal identified by color. The blue inhalers are known as relievers and they have a medicine which relaxes the airways. Examples are terbutaline (bricanyl) or salbutamol (ventolin). These inhalers are used to provide relief if wheezing or shortness of breath is experienced. If this reliever has to be taken more often or is not effective so speak with the doctor as the medication may require changing.

Preventers can be colored orange, red, beige, brown and white. Note that there are some of the generic salbutamol inhalers colored white. The medicine in preventers can reduce inflammation in the airways and prevent an asthma attack. These have to be used on a regular basis as per the doctor’s instructions to prevent the occurrence of wheezing and/or shortness of breath.

Preventer inhalers such as fluticasone and beclometasone contain corticosteroid. To prevent oral thrush which is a side effect of using this inhaler, rinse out the mouth after using it.

If you use reliever and preventer inhalers it is essential to take the reliever before the preventer. The reliever helps to open the airways and this allows the medicine in the preventer go straight into the lungs.

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