Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
People who have lung conditions, like asthma or COPD, often take their medications using a hand-held device called a metered dose inhaler, or MDI, with a spacer.
A metered-dose inhaler sprays medicine through your mouth…
...so that it can reach your airways.
If your inhaler is not used the right way, some medicine may remain in the back of your mouth and not reach your airways where it is needed.
This video will show you the general steps for correctly using an inhaler with a spacer.
It’s important to follow the instructions that came with your metered-dose inhaler and spacer.
A metered-dose inhaler has three main parts:
the mouthpiece cover;
and the medicine container.
A spacer helps get more medicine into your airways.
The spacer attaches to your inhaler’s mouthpiece,
it also has a mouthpiece and cap.
Before using your metered-dose inhaler, remove the mouthpiece cap,
and shake the inhaler.
Next, remove the cap from the spacer,
and make sure it's clean inside.
If this is the first time you are using your inhaler, or if you haven’t used it in a while, you will need to prime it before placing it in the spacer.
Check the instructions for how and when to do this with your inhaler.
Attach your spacer to your inhaler.
When you’re ready to use your inhaler, stand or sit up straight.
Breathe in deeply,
and breathe out completely to empty your lungs.
Put the spacer’s mouthpiece in your mouth between your teeth and above your tongue.
Then, close your lips around the mouthpiece to form a tight seal.
Press down firmly on the top of your inhaler to release one puff of medicine into the spacer,
and breathe in as slowly and as deeply as you can. If you hear a whistling sound, you are breathing in too quickly.
It is recommended that you hold your breath for approximately a count of ten.
Finally, breathe out slowly through your mouth.
If your medicine dose requires two puffs, you may need to wait before taking the second puff. Follow the instructions that came with your inhaler to know how long to wait between puffs.
After using a steroid inhaler, rinse out your mouth with water and spit it out.
It’s important to clean your inhaler and spacer so that they work properly.
Check the instructions for your inhaler and spacer for the right way to clean them.
Proper use of your metered-dose inhaler may help you control the symptoms of your lung condition and improve your daily living. So, if you have questions about the use of your inhaler, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist.