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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Use Hand Held Inhalers

I recently had patients with asthma who came to see me because their symptoms did not improve with the use of an inhaler. We performed spirometry (breathing test that measures air flow) in the office and administered nebulized albuterol which demonstrated a marked improvement in their ability to move air in and out of the lungs. Thus, it was reasonable to deduce they should get like improvement with their handheld inhaler. The next step was to check the patient's inhaler technique. One patient blew into her Diskus inhaler (like blowing into a harmonica) instead of inhaling, thus no medication ever entered the airway. And another demonstrating poor timing--she puffed the medication directly into her mouth whereupon I could see a plume of vapors escape out of her mouth to the room, then she inhaled, achieving little to no medication delivery to the lungs (most of the medication lost to the environment). Poor inhaler technique is a common cause of lack of response to therapy. See link below for video clips on proper technique (select the type of inhaler you use from the options below the video).
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD There are a variety of medicines available to treat asthma. What is important to know is that there is no “best” medicine for all people. Each person’s asthma is different and your doctor and health care team will work with you to set up the best plan for you, based upon your symptoms and your needs…

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