The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Inhalers are a mainstay of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment. These portable medical devices are designed to hold medications that are administered through inhalation (breathing in). Inhalers are particularly useful for treating lung conditions because inhaled medications can reach the airways without traveling throughout the rest of the body.
Several types of inhaled medications can be used in an inhaler. The most commonly prescribed medication for COPD is a bronchodilator, which can relax the muscles surrounding the airways, reduce inflammation and promote air flow. Some bronchodilators are effective right away, while others take some time to produce meaningful results.
Three main types of inhaler devices are used to deliver medications for the treatment of COPD:
- Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) inhalers – Also known as metered dose inhalers (MDIs), these handheld canisters contain a pressurized, inactive gas that propels a precise dosage of liquid medication whenever the top of the device is pressed.
- Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) – Operating in a manner similar to HFA inhalers, DPIs release a puff of dry powder instead of a liquid mist.
- Soft mist inhalers (SMIs) – A premeasured amount of medicine is delivered in a slow-moving mist regardless of how fast air is inhaled from the device.
While the treatment goal is the same, each type of COPD inhaler works differently. For instance, an HFA inhaler should be shaken prior to use, but a DPI should never be agitated. Therefore, it’s important to understand how to properly use a specific inhaler in order to maximize the effectiveness of COPD treatment.
Some people are initially able to manage their COPD symptoms with inhalers and other treatments, but as the condition progresses, it can significantly diminish both lung function and quality of life. At the Lung Institute, we offer cellular therapy, which is unique in that it has the potential to actually slow the progression of COPD. Our cellular therapies are provided on an outpatient basis, allowing our patients to return to the comfort of their own homes shortly after treatment.
To find out if cellular therapy is right for you, contact the Lung Institute at 888-745-6697 to schedule a free consultation.