How to use a Standard MDI (puffer) and Spacer
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How to use a Standard MDI (puffer) and Spacer

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Using your inhaler (puffer) properly is important when you have asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

This short clip shows you how to use a standard metered dose inhaler (MDI), often called a puffer, with a spacer.

Medications

A standard puffer and spacer is used with many different medications. These include:

Checklist of steps

Multiple breath method

  1. Assemble spacer (if necessary)
  2. Remove inhaler cap
  3. Check dose counter (if device has one)
  4. Hold inhaler upright and shake well
  5. Insert inhaler upright into spacer
  6. Put mouthpiece between teeth (without biting) and close lips to form good seal
  7. Breathe out gently, into the spacer
  8. Keep spacer horizontal and press down firmly on inhaler canister once
  9. Breathe in and out normally for 3 or 4 breaths
  10. Remove spacer from mouth
  11. Breathe out gently
  12. Remove inhaler from spacer
  13. If more than one dose is needed, repeat all steps starting from step 4
  14. Replace inhaler cap

Single breath method

  1. Assemble spacer (if necessary)
  2. Remove inhaler cap
  3. Check dose counter (if device has one)
  4. Hold inhaler upright and shake well
  5. Insert inhaler upright into spacer
  6. Put mouthpiece between teeth (without biting) and close lips to form good seal
  7. Breathe out gently, into the spacer
  8. Keep spacer horizontal and press down firmly on inhaler canister once
  9. Breathe in slowly and deeply
  10. Hold breath for about 5 seconds or as long as comfortable
  11. While holding breath, remove spacer from mouth
  12. Breathe out gently
  13. Remove inhaler from spacer
  14. If more than one dose is needed, repeat all steps starting from step 4
  15. Replace inhaler cap

Your inhaler and spacer will come with instructions in the package. Always check the package insert for any specific instructions.

Common problems 

Tips

Spacer care

Getting the most out of your inhaler

Ask your doctor, pharmacist or asthma & respiratory educator to:

Other inhaler types

See our complete How-to video library for other inhaler types and how to use them.

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Ms Judi Wicking, asthma and respiratory educator, and the patient who participated in this film clip.

Development of this How-to video was supported by the Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs as part of the Prevent Puffer Problems campaign. The National Asthma Council Australia retained editorial control.