Asthma: Ways to Take Inhaled Medicines - Topic Overview
When you use inhaled
asthma medicine, you usually use a device that
delivers the medicine directly to your lungs. Different types of delivery
systems are available, and one type may be more suitable for certain people,
age groups, or medicine than another. The following table describes how asthma
medicines may be delivered.
Sometimes doctors recommend the use of a
spacer with a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). The spacer
is attached to the MDI. A spacer may deliver the medicine to your child's lungs
better than an inhaler alone and, for many people, is easier to use than an MDI
alone. Using a spacer with inhaled
corticosteroids can help reduce their side effects and
result in less use of oral corticosteroids.
A spacer is recommended for children age 5 and older.
A spacer and a face mask are recommended for children younger than
Using a spacer with an MDI may be just as effective as and less
expensive than a nebulizer and can reduce the risk of an overdose.
If you don't use a spacer, you need to trigger a puff of medicine
and inhale at the same time.
A breath-activated MDI is available
for people age 12 and older who have difficulty inhaling while triggering a