Asthma medications are commonly taken with inhalers, devices which deliver a specific dose of medication directly in the lungs to prevent or relieve an asthma attack. There are two basic types of asthma inhalers. Which one to choose greatly depends on prescribed medication – some medications are available only with certain type of inhaler, the patient’s needs and severity of asthma.
Metered-dose inhaler is the most widely used type of asthma inhalers. It consists of pressurized canister with medication and a mouthpiece, while the medication is released by pressing the top of the canister. Some metered-dose inhalers come with counters which tell you how many doses remain until you run out of medication. If not having a counter it is necessary to keep track on used doses of medication on your own to make sure you get prescription for a refill before you run out of medication.
Some metered-dose inhaler can also feature a spacer which reduces the pace of released medication which gives more time to inhale and increasing the amount of inhaled medication. Metered-dose inhaler with spacer is commonly recommended to people who have difficulties with use of a regular metered-dose inhaler and to patients who use corticosteroids inhalers.
Less commonly used are dry powder inhalers which deliver medication to the lungs in the form of dry powder and require deep inhalation. This type of inhaler is not appropriate for children and people with severe asthma.