Different Types of Inhalers

An inhaler is a device that has medicine that you ingest by inhaling. They are the main treatment for those living with asthma. There are many kinds of inhalers on the market, which can make it confusing for the consumer to narrow down their options. It is recommended that users remember the name of their inhalers and the colour of their device to eliminate any chances of confusion when visiting a new doctor who may not have access to your medical records.

Types of Inhalers

When inhaled, the medicine goes directly into the airways. This means that there is much less medication administered than when taking a tablet or liquid medication. The lungs and airways are treated quickly, without impacting the rest of the body.

Reliever Inhalers

Reliever inhalers have bronchodilator medicine that relieves symptoms of breathlessness and wheeziness. The medicine in reliever inhalers works to relax the muscles in the airways, which expands them and subdues the symptoms.

Preventer Inhalers

Preventer inhalers usually contain steroid medicine, and are used as a preventative measure to stop symptoms from developing. Steroids are used in preventer inhalers in order to reduce inflammation in the airways. When the inflammation is reduced, there is a less likely chance of them becoming narrow, and causing wheezing.

Long-Lasting Bronchodilator Inhalers

The medicine in long-lasting bronchodilator inhalers are similar to those in reliever inhalers but have effects that last up to 12 hours after use. These inhalers may be prescribed in addition to preventer inhalers if symptoms are not controlled.

Inhaler Devices

Metered Dose Inhaler

The metered dose inhaler has medicine in a small case in a plastic case. When the inhaler is pressed, the medication is released, and you can inhale it through the mouthpiece. They are versatile inhalers as they can be used when you are experiencing symptoms of an asthma attack like shortness of breath, or to administer daily doses of preventative asthma medication.


Nebulizers convert asthma medication into a mist that can be inhaled. They are usually recommended for individuals who can not use metered dose inhalers, like infants and elder patients. Like metered dose inhalers, they can be used for emergencies or maintenance.

Dry-Powder Inhalers

Dry-powder inhalers are the most similar to metered inhalers but do not release medicine in the same way. They do not require the user to press the canister to propel the medication, instead, they take a deep breathe and pull the medication into their lungs. These inhalers are not often used for an emergency situation, as they require the user to have a strong enough breath to pull the medication in.

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