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An aerosol metered-dose inhaler (MDI)

An inhaler or puffer is a medical device used for delivering medication into the body via the lungs. It is mainly used in the treatment of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Medication is most commonly stored in solution in a pressurized canister. The canister is attached to a plastic, hand-operated actuator. For example, the metered-dose inhaler (MDI) on activation releases a fixed dose of medication in aerosol form. The correct procedure for using a MDI is to first fully exhale, place the mouth-piece end of the pump into the mouth, and having just started to inhale, depress the canister to release the medicine. The aerosolized medication is drawn into the lungs by continuing to inhale deeply before holding the breath for 10 seconds to allow absorption into the bronchial walls.

Alternatively a complementary spacer devise may be used, of which is an enclosed plastic chamber that mixes the medication with air in a simple tube, making it easier for patients to receive a full dose of the drug.

The largest manufacturers of inhalers are GlaxoSmithKline (makers of the Advair Discus (a DPI)), Merck, AstraZeneca (makers of Pulmicort and Symbicort) and Boehringer-Ingelheim (makers of Atrovent, Combivent, and Spiriva). BI, GSK, Merck, and AstraZeneca manufacture the medication being delivered via inhaler. However, 3M Drug Delivery Systems does some of the finished product manufacturing, as they are one of the leaders of MDI canisters, metering valves and other components.

Current Types of Inhalers by Delivery

Current Types of Inhalers by Category

  • Rescue Inhalers: Short-Acting Beta-2 Adrenergic Bronchodilator Inhalers
  • Maintenance Inhalers: Long-Acting Adrenergic Bronchodilator Inhalers
  • Maintenance Inhalers: Anticholinergic Bronchodilators in COPD
  • Maintenance Inhalers: Corticosteroids
  • Combination Inhalers: Corticosteroid with LongActing Beta-2 Adrenergic Agonist
  • Combination Maintenance Inhaler: Anticholinergics with Short- Acting Beta-2 Adrenergic Agonists[1]

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