An asthma inhaler is a device that delivers a specific amount of medication to the lungs, in the form of short doses of liquefied medicine that is usually self-administered by the patient via inhalation. It is the most commonly used delivery system for treating asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory diseases. The medication in an inhaler is most commonly a bronchodilator, corticosteroid or a combination of both for the treatment of asthma and COPD. Other medications less commonly used but also administered by MDI are mast cell stabilizers, such as cromoglicate or nedocromil.
There are three major components of an inhaler which include a canister made of aluminum or stainless steel, and is the place where the medication is held. Next is the metering valve, which allows a metered quantity of the formulation to be released with activation. The last is the mouthpiece which allows the patient to operate the device and directs the aerosol into the patient's lungs. The medication is made up of the required drug, a liquefied gas propellant and, in many cases, stabilizing materials. The mouthpiece contains the mating discharge nozzle and generally includes a dust cap to prevent contamination of the drug.
Using the inhaler is pretty easy. The patient should press on the top of the canister, with their thumb supporting the lower portion of the mouthpiece. Activation of the device releases a single calculated dose of the medication which contains the drug either dissolved or suspended in the propellant.
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