Asthma Inhalers: Which Is the Right Choice for You?

Asthma is a common lung disease affecting around 26 million people in the United States. And yet, it can be very serious. Each year 3,400 people die in the US die because of asthma. 

Keeping asthma under control is crucial. Read on to learn about the different types of asthma inhalers and how they work. 

Metered Dose Inhalers

Metered dose inhalers are the most common type of asthma inhalers. The medication is inside a canister which fits into an L-shaped mouthpiece.

With some types of inhalers, you put the mouthpiece in your mouth and push the top of the canister. Some inhalers automatically release the medicine as you inhale. 

Popular medications taken through a metered dose inhaler include Flovent and Symbicort. Learn more about Symbicort cost and how it works. 

Metered Dose Inhaler with a Spacer

Metered dose asthma inhalers can also come with a spacer.

A spacer is a chamber that makes it easy to breathe in the full dose of medication. The spacer has a one-way valve letting you inhale slowly. This way more medicine gets to your lungs.

Spacers are often used for children with asthma or the elderly. Some inhalers have a built-in spacer, and others can simply be attached to the inhaler canister. 

You need a prescription to purchase a spacer. 

The advantage of using a spacer is you don’t need to inhale fast and deep to intake the medicine. Also, a spacer prevents the medicine from settling on your tongue and throat. 

But, the spacer is large and can be cumbersome to carry with you. 

Dry Powder Inhaler

These types of inhalers are breath-activated. You don’t need to push the canister down like with a metered dose inhaler.

Instead, the medicine is released when you take a big, quick breath. Dry powder inhalers come in two types. Some hold up to 200 doses, and there are also single-dose inhalers you fill with a capsule before each use. 

Common dry powder inhalers are used with these medications: Advair Diskus, Asmanex, and Pulmicort flexhaler.

Are your prescription costs adding up? Here are 3 ways you can save money on prescriptions.


Another way you can take asthma medication is through a nebulizer. You place a mask or mouthpiece on your face and the nebulizer releases the medication as a mist.

A nebulizer is typically used for people who are unable to use an inhaler like those who are severely ill and on babies. A doctor may prescribe a nebulizer if you need a large dose of medication. 

Final Word on Asthma Inhalers

Thanks for reading. We hope this article has given you a good overview of the various types of asthma inhalers.

If you have questions about what type of inhaler you should use, consult your doctor.

Next, check out our post about the link between cockroaches and asthma. It’s everything you never wanted to know. 

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