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Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease inhalers: Techniques for proper use

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Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affect millions of Americans. Inhalers are necessary to manage these diseases, but physicians and patients often struggle to use them correctly.


To simplify inhaler use for patients and physicians.


This article compares the various inhalers used to treat asthma and COPD, their techniques for use, and the steps necessary to prime the inhaler if required. The authors provide a suggested standardized technique for the use of metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, and soft-mist inhalers to provide for a more universal approach for the use of these medications and summarizes how each product is to be used per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved package insert.

Results and Conclusions:

The simplified techniques proposed in this article for the use of metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, and soft mist inhalers used to treat asthma and COPD may limit inhaler misuse and aid in proper medication delivery and treatment.
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Keywords: Asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); dry powder inhaler; education; inhaler; metered-dose inhaler; soft mist inhaler; technique

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine Tampa, Tampa, Florida

Publication date: July 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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