Metered-Dose Inhaler (MDI) and Spacer

Why to Use a Spacer with a Metered-Dose Inhaler (MDI)
Steps for Using a Spacer with an MDI
Common Spacers Used with MDIs
Other Common Spacers
Important Information About Spacers


Why to Use a Spacer with a Metered-Dose Inhaler (MDI)

Because it can be difficult to use the correct technique with a metered-dose inhaler, we often recommend the use of a spacer. A spacer is a device that attaches to the metered-dose inhaler. It helps deliver the medicine to the airways of the lungs instead of the mouth. This helps the medicine work better and lessens side effects.


Steps for Using a Spacer with an MDI

  1. Insert the inhaler/canister into spacer and shake.
  2. Breathe out.
  3. Put the spacer mouthpiece into your mouth.
  4. Press down on the inhaler once.
  5. Breathe in slowly (for 3-5 seconds).
  6. Hold breath for 10 seconds.

Common Spacers Used With MDIs

You can read more about how to use some of the more common spacers by clicking on each one below:

Other Common Spacers Include:

  • VortexTM
  • OptiChamber®

Important Information About Spacers

  • Some spacers whistle to let you know if you inhale too quickly
  • It is important to clean your spacer; follow the instructions inside the package
  • Spacers are available for young children with different sized masks
  • We recommend obtaining a second spacer for school or daycare


This information has been reviewed and approved by David Tinkelman, MD (August 2012)

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