Benefits Of Using Metered Dose Inhaler With Spacer

Many people have a hard time learning how to use metered dose inhalers correctly. Quite often, too much of asthma medicine ends up in the mouth and throat instead of passing into the lung's small airways where it is most needed to control the asthma symptoms. The result can be poor control of asthma, as well as side effects from getting the wrong dose of medicine, like sore throat, dry mouth, bad taste etc.

A spacer device is a large plastic container, usually in two halves that click together. At one end is a mouthpiece and at the other end is a hole for inserting the mouthpiece of an MDI.

Benefits of MDI with spacer

The dose from your inhaler is sprayed into the spacer, from where it can be inhaled without needing to coordinate breathing and pushing down the inhaler canister. 

There are several brands of spacer device available and they are all different (including Volumatic, Optichamber and Aerochamber). Each spacer device fits different inhalers and so it is important to get the right spacer device that fits your inhaler. The inhaler mouthpiece must fit properly into the spacer hole. Spacers are available on prescription. 

In order to properly use an inhaler without a spacer, one has to coordinate a certain number of actions in a set order (pressing down on the inhaler, breathing in deeply as soon as the medication is released, holding your breath, exhaling), and not all patients are able to master this sequence. Use of a spacer avoids such timing issues. Spacers slow down the speed of the aerosol coming from the inhaler, meaning that less of the asthma drug impacts on the back of the mouth and somewhat more may get into the lungs. Because of this, less medication is needed for an effective dose to reach the lungs, and there are fewer side effects from corticosteroid residue in the mouth.

Valves on a spacer (which technically makes it a holding chamber) cause the patient to inhale the contents of the spacer, but exhalation goes out into the air. The problem of coordinating an inspiration with a press of an inhaler is avoided, making use easier for children under 5 and the elderly. It also makes asthma medication easier to deliver during an attack. So use of spacer is advised by many.