Asthma Inhaler Types and How to Choose One

In this article, we will look into asthma inhaler types and how you should choose one depending on your condition.

Overview – Asthma 

Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects millions of people around the world. Asthma is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs, and while it can affect people of all ages, it is more common in children.

It is characterized by recurrent episodes of wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Various factors, such as exposure to allergens, respiratory infections, exercise, and stress can trigger these symptoms. Asthma can range in severity from mild to severe, and it can be managed with proper treatment and self-management techniques.

Using an inhaler is an essential part of managing asthma, as it helps to deliver medication directly to the airways where it is needed. Using an inhaler can help control asthma symptoms and reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks, which can be life-threatening.

The first guidelines on asthma diagnosis and management were published in the late 1980s. The development of these documents was stimulated by an increase in asthma-related mortality in several countries (particularly New Zealand), and a marked increase in asthma prevalence in many countries in the 1970s and 1980s.

In this article, we will look into asthma inhaler types and how you should choose one depending on your condition.

Asthma Inhaler-Types of Asthma Inhaler

An inhaler is a device holding a medicine that you take by breathing in (inhaling). Inhalers are the main treatment for asthma. There are many different types of inhalers, which can be confusing. Here is a brief overview of each asthma inhaler types

  • Quick Relief Inhalers(Rescue Inhaler): These inhalers contain a fast-acting medication that provides immediate relief during an asthma attack or flare-up. You can take a rescue inhaler as required to ease symptoms when you are breathless, wheezy, or tight-chested. The medicine in a reliever inhaler relaxes the muscle in the airways. This opens the airways wider, and symptoms usually quickly ease.
  • Long-Term Control Inhalers: Long-term control inhalers are not meant to provide immediate relief during an asthma attack. These inhalers contain a medication that is taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms from occurring in the first place. The medicines these inhalers function in a similar way to relievers but work for up to 12 hours after each dose has been taken.
  • Combination Inhalers: These inhalers contain both a quick-relief medication and a long-term control medication in the same inhaler. They offer the combination effect of controlling underlying airway inflammation while keeping airways open at the same time. They are used to both prevent and relieve asthma symptoms.
  • Inhalers for specific populations: There are also inhalers available for specific populations, such as children and pregnant women. It’s important to discuss your needs with a healthcare provider to determine the best inhaler for you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Asthma Inhaler

Asthma inhalers are hand-held, portable devices that deliver medication to your lungs. Many asthma inhaler types are available to help control asthma symptoms. To find the best inhaler for you, you need to find a balance between the correct medication and the type of inhaler that suits your needs. Here are some factors to consider

  • Type of Inhaler: Do you need a quick-relief inhaler for immediate symptom relief during an asthma episode, or a long-term control inhaler to prevent symptoms from occurring? It changes from person to person, analyze the need before choosing.
  • Easy to Use: Certain inhalers may be easier to use for some people than others. Considering the size of the inhaler, how many puffs it might contain, and whether you need to shake it before use. 
  • Cost: Insulin can be bought at different prices and rates depending on the brand and the need of the person. Consider the cost of the inhaler and whether it is covered by your insurance before making a decision.
  • Method of Delivery: Inhalers come in different delivery methods, including metered-dose inhalers, dry powder inhalers, and nebulizers. MDIs and DPIs are handheld inhalers that require the user to inhale the medication, while nebulizers are machines that turn liquid medication into a fine mist that can be inhaled through a mouthpiece or face mask. Consider which delivery method is most convenient and easiest for you to use.
  • Side Effects: Some inhalers might have some side effects depending on your lifestyle and other medications you take. Consider this factor and consult your doctor related to this concern.

how to use asthma inhaler

How to Use an Asthma Inhaler?

Using an Asthma inhaler correctly is essential to make sure that the medication has been delivered effectively to your body. These are some steps

  1. Remove the cap from the inhaler and shake it well.
  2. Exhale as much as you possibly can.
  3. Hold the inhaler upright, with the mouthpiece towards your mouth.
  4. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it.
  5. Take a deep breath as you press down on the top of the inhaler to release the medication.
  6. Hold your breath as long as you can.
  7. Exhale slowly
  8. If you are using more than one puff of medication, wait 30 seconds before using the second one. Then repeat steps 2 to 7.

It’s important to follow the specific instructions for your inhaler, as different inhalers may have slightly different usage instructions. It’s also necessary to store and care for your inhaler properly. Keep the inhaler away from heat and moisture, and replace it when the inhaler is empty or the expiration date has passed.


Asthma inhalers come in several varieties, allowing people with asthma to customize their treatment based on their condition. Quick-relief inhalers provide quick but short-term relief of symptoms and can be used as needed. Long-term control inhalers offer longer-lasting effects while combination inhalers help control symptoms and reduce the risk of severe attacks. There are also specific types of inhalers designed for specific populations like children or seniors. When selecting an asthma inhaler, factors such as delivery method, cost, ease of use, side effects, and drug interactions should be considered along with guidance from a healthcare provider.

When it comes to medical advice, it’s always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional. While the information in this article is meant to provide general awareness about healthcare products and conditions, it should not be used as a replacement for official medical advice. Therefore, if you have any concerns or questions regarding prescription and non-prescription drugs, speak with your doctor first.

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your medication. Our team is more than happy to assist you should you have any questions about your insulin medication. Once your insulin prescription is ready, reach out to us at PharmaServe!

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