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

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These are the general steps for using a dry powder inhaler for COPD:

1. Remove the cap from the dry powder inhaler.

2. Load a dose of medicine (how you do this depends on the type of inhaler you have).

3. Turn your head and breathe out as much air as you can -- try and empty your lungs.

4. Put the dry powder inhaler up to your mouth.

5. Place the mouth-piece in your mouth and seal your lips firmly around the opening so no air or medicine can escape out the sides.

6. Using just your mouth, breathe in once -- very deep and fast -- filling your lungs as deeply as you can. Dry powder inhalers are breathe-activated, so it's the breathing in deep and fast that gives you the right dose of medicine. Never breathe into the inhaler.

7. Take your mouth off the inhaler and hold your breath for at least 10 seconds. Then slowly breathe out.

8. If your doctor prescribed more than one dose of COPD medication, wait about 1 minute before taking the next dose.

9. Replace the cap on the dry powder inhaler. Gargle and rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash (usually advised only for steroid-type inhalers).

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 25, 2017

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 25, 2017

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

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