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How do I keep track of how much medication is in my hydrofluoroalkane inhaler for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

ANSWER

Check the side of the canister for the number of puffs it contains. Then keep track of how many times you use it each day. This way, you can estimate when your inhaler is likely to run out. Put that date right on the canister. Some HFAs contain a color-coded side window that indicates when the medication is running out.

Ask your doctor about HFAs that count the puffs each time you press the inhaler. Or ask about getting two inhalers at a time. When one runs out, get a refill so you always have an inhaler handy.

Throw away the HFA when it is empty, even if it continues to spray.

SOURCES: National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Inhaled Medication With a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)" and "Inhaled Medication With a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Spacer." MedlinePlus: "Encyclopedia: Metered dose inhaler use." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Asthma Guide: Using Your Metered Dose Inhalers and Spacers." American Academy of Family Physicians: "Metered-Dose Inhaler: How to Use It Correctly." National Lung Health Education Program" "Devices." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic: "Dry Powder Inhalers." Healthtouch Online: "How to Use a Dry Powder Inhaler."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on July 19, 2019

SOURCES: National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Inhaled Medication With a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)" and "Inhaled Medication With a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Spacer." MedlinePlus: "Encyclopedia: Metered dose inhaler use." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Asthma Guide: Using Your Metered Dose Inhalers and Spacers." American Academy of Family Physicians: "Metered-Dose Inhaler: How to Use It Correctly." National Lung Health Education Program" "Devices." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic: "Dry Powder Inhalers." Healthtouch Online: "How to Use a Dry Powder Inhaler."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on July 19, 2019

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How do I use a dry powder inhaler for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

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