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Using Dry-Powder Inhalers (DPIs)

Some asthma medicines are breathed in using inhalers. Dry-powder inhalers (DPIs) deliver measured doses of powdered medicine into your lungs. DPIs often have counters to track the number of doses used. Keep in mind that DPIs don’t all work the same way. To use yours correctly, follow the steps below.

There are 2 main types of dry powder inhalers:

●Single-dose inhalers. These come with capsules of medicine. You need to put a capsule into the inhaler each time you use it.

Multiple-dose inhalers. These come with all of the doses already in the inhaler.

The directions for the 2 types of dry-powder inhalers are slightly different.

Using a DPI

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Take off the cap. Hold the DPI based on the manufacturer's directions.

  3. Load the prescribed dose of medicine. Follow the instructions that came with the inhaler.

  4. Sit up straight in a chair or stand up.

  5. Hold the inhaler away from your mouth. Take a deep breath in. Then breathe out as much as you can to empty your lungs. Keep holding the inhaler away from your mouth. Hold your chin up.

  6. Put the mouthpiece between your lips. Make a tight seal. Breathe in deeply through the inhaler. Don't breathe through your nose. You may not feel or taste the medicine as you breathe in. This is normal.

  7. Take the mouthpiece out of your mouth. Keep your mouth closed. Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds (or as long as you can) with your mouth closed.

  8. Breathe out slowly, away from the direction of the inhaler. But don't breathe out through the inhaler. Moisture from your breath can make the powder stick inside the inhaler. Then start normal breathing.

  9. Close the inhaler. Store it in a cool, dry place.

  10. If an inhaled corticosteroid was used, rinse and gargle your mouth with water. Spit it out; don't swallow it.

  11. Don't wash your DPI with soap and water. To clean the mouthpiece, wipe with a dry cloth. Do this at least 1 time a week or as needed.

Six steps in using a diskus dry powder inhaler.

Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rajadurai Samnishanth Researcher
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
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