Choosing the right inhaler

A broad range of inhaler devices are available to deliver medications for asthma patients. It is therefore important for physicians to consider the characteristics of each device, patients’ preferences, and the ability of patients to use a device optimally, when deciding which inhaler is most appropriate.

By answering the following questions you can help to select the correct inhaler for your patients:1
  1. Is your patient able to coordinate the actuation of a pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI) with early inspiration?
  2. Is your patient able to take an adequate and effective inspiration?

The main inhaler devices are categorized below (Table 1), according to a patient’s ability.

52 fig 1Inhalers and patient characteristics
DPI: dry powder inhaler; SMI: soft mist inhaler

Table 1: Suitability of the main inhaler devices for different patient groups1

  1. Chapman KR, Voshaar TH and Virchow JC. Inhaler choice in primary practice. Eur Respir Rev 2005;14:117-22.
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