Improper Inhaler Technique: Common Errors done by Asthma Patients

For patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inhalation therapy is the foundation of treatment. Yet all too often, patients don’t get the full value of their inhaled medications because they use their inhaler incorrectly. When technique is markedly flawed, suboptimal outcomes typically result.

In order to gain maximum benefit from these inhalers, they need to be used correctly. However, the steps involved in doing so are different for each inhaler.

When pMDIs are used to deliver controller or preventer medications, they should be used with a spacer device in order to reduce side-effects and improve delivery to the airways.

The mostly common error associated with the use of pMDIs is that the patient doesn’t take a slow deep breath at the same time as pressing the canister down.

Getting the most out of your inhaler — several common mistakes can prevent inhaled medications from getting to the lungs. The following tips can help to get the most out of a metered dose inhaler

  • Remember to take the cap off the mouthpiece
  • Be sure there is medication in the canister
  • Inhale through the mouth when breathing in the medication, not the nose
  • Take a slow, deep breath at the same time you press down on the medication canister
  • If you have difficulty timing your breath while spraying the medication, there are inhalers that automatically release the medication when you take a breath (i.e., Maxair Autohaler).
  • The most common errors associated with Turbuhaler misuse include:
  • Not keeping the device upright while loading the dose.
  • Not exhaling as much air as possible and away from the mouth piece.
  • The most common errors associated with Accuhaler misuse include:
  • Not exhaling as much air as possible and
  • Not exhaling away from the mouth piece