Step 8: Drug delivery devices
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There are several ways to get an asthma drug into your lungs. The most common methods are:

  • Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) and Spacers
  • Dry Powder Inhalers
  • Nebulizers

Each of the methods has a few pros and cons, but all are effective. Nebulizers are not as commonly used at home as they were in the past. The method to use is partly a matter of personal preference, but it also depends on your age, ability to use MDIs, and the drugs you have been prescribed. Some people use multiple methods, using a nebulizer while relaxing at home and an MDI when they are "on the go."

Asthma drugs can also be delivered as pills, capsules, liquids, or injections, but these methods are not routinely used for most patients. They require the drug to be absorbed into the bloodstream before making its way to the lungs, and therefore require higher doses. These methods are more likely to have side effects and take longer for the drug to work. Only people with severe persistent asthma should be considered for regular use of oral medications (pills and liquids).

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Metered dose inhalers

Dry powder inhalers

Nebulizers

 

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Review Date: 5/16/2007

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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