• Reviewed on 2/15
    By Ann Mullen, RN

Devices for Inhaled Medications

Inhaled medicines, or medicines that you breathe directly into the lungs, are an important part of treatment for chronic lung disease. When inhaled, the medicine quickly reaches the airways and less is absorbed into the bloodstream. There are a number of devices that deliver medicine directly to the airways. Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), dry powder inhalers, nebulizers and soft mist inhalers are currently available with different medicines.

It is important to routinely clean the inhaled devices to keep them working properly. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer for each device.


Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDI)

The metered dose inhaler (MDI) consists of a pressurized canister of medicine in a plastic case with a mouthpiece. A holding chamber consists of a plastic tube with a mouthpiece, a valve to control mist delivery and a soft sealed end to hold the MDI. The holding chamber assists delivery of medicine to the lungs.
 Learn more.

Play the video.Metered-Dose Inhaler
(Open Mouth Technique)

Play the video.Metered-Dose Inhaler
(Closed Mouth Technique)

Play the video.Aerochamber®

Play the video.Aerochamber® with Mask

Play the video.Autohaler®



Dry Powder Inhalers

The dry powder inhalers consist of a plastic device used to inhale powdered medication. The dry powder inhalers are breath activated. This means when you inhale, the device automatically releases the medication. Learn more.

Play the VideoAerolizer®

Play the VideoDiskus®


Play the VideoFlexhaler®

Play the VideoHandihaler®



Play the video.Twisthaler®




A nebulizer delivery system consists of a nebulizer (small plastic bowl with a screw-top lid) and a source for compressed air. The air flow to the nebulizer changes the medication solution to a mist that is inhaled.

Instructions for Nebulizer Treatments:

Using a Nebulizer

Using a Nebulizer with a Mask


Soft Mist Inhaler

A soft mist inhaler consists of a plastic device containing medication. The medication is released as a slow-moving soft mist. Learn how to use a Respimat.


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