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Inhalers (How-To)

Most people with COPD or other respiratory diseases are prescribed at least one inhaler. The advantages of an inhaler versus a pill are:

  • They get to your lungs very quickly.
  • They cause less side effects because they are inhaled directly into your lungs and do not need to go through your blood stream first.

It is very important to learn how to properly use each one of your inhalers. Many people do not correctly use their inhalers and therefore do not get all the benefits from their medications. There are many types of inhalers that are used in different ways. Some need to be breathed in slowly. Others need to be breathed in quickly. Some you have to shake, while others you’ don’t.

If your treatment plan isn’t working well, it could be because of improper inhaler technique. If you don’t use your inhalers properly, all the medication may not reach your lungs and therefore will not be very effective.

Inhaler technique should be checked at every visit your health-care provider. You can ask your doctor, nurse practitioner, certified respiratory educator, nurse, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, etc. – any qualified health-care provider.

Recently, there have been a number of new COPD medications in new types of inhalers available in Canada.

Below you will find different inhaler devices. Most of them are used in COPD. Find the device you are prescribed and learn how to use it correctly. Common types of inhalers include:

  • Diskus®
  • Ellipta™
  • Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)

How to Use a Puffer (Metered Dose Inhaler)

This video shows you how to use a metered dose inhaler (MDI) medication inhalation device. The MDI sprays out a puff of medicine that is inhaled deep into the lungs.


How to Use a Puffer (Metered Dose Inhaler) with Spacer

This video shows you how to use a metered dose inhaler (MDI) medication inhalation device with a spacer (valved holding chamber) device. The MDI sprays out a puff of medicine into the spacer. The medicine is then inhaled from the spacer deep into the lungs.


How to Use the Diskus Medication Inhalation Device

This video shows you how to use the Diskus medication inhalation device. The Diskus is a “dry powder” medication delivery device. The fine powder is inhaled deep into the lungs.


How to Use the Turbuhaler Medication Inhalation Device

This video shows you how to use the Turbuhaler medication inhalation device. The Turbuhaler is a “dry powder” medication delivery device. The fine powder is inhaled deep into the lungs.


How to Use the Twisthaler Medication Inhalation Device

This video shows you how to use the Twisthaler medication inhalation device. The Twisthaler is a “dry powder” medication delivery device. The fine powder is inhaled deep into the lungs.


How to Use the Ellipta Medication Inhalation Device

This video shows you how to use the Ellipta medication inhalation device. The Ellipta is a “dry powder” medication delivery device. The fine powder is inhaled deep into the lungs.


How to use the Respimat Medication Inhalation Device

This video shows you how to use the Respimat medication inhalation device. The Respimat is a medication delivery device that sprays out a puff of medicine that you inhale deep into the lungs.


How to Use a Nebulizer/Compressor

This video shows you how to use the nebulizer/compressor medication inhalation device. A nebulizer uses air pressure to turn liquid medicine into a mist that is then inhaled through a facemask or mouthpiece.


If you have any questions about your medications, ask your health-care provider or pharmacist.