Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDI)
The metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a canister of medication that sprays a medicated mist
into a person's airway. The MDI can be used alone or with a spacer device.
Several different types of MDIs are available, including bronchodilators (Proventil,
Ventolin, or Alupent), inhaled steroids (Beclovent, Vanceril, Azmacort, or Aerobid),
cromolyn (Intal), and ipratropium bromide (Atrovent). When a person is using more than one
type of MDI, the bronchodilator usually is taken first.
There are several ways to use the MDI. The technique most often recommended is as
- Shake the MDI vigorously.
- Hold the MDI so the mouthpiece is at the bottom.
- If you are using the MDI without a spacer, hold the mouthpiece 1-1/2 to 2 inches in
front of the open mouth (about two- to three-fingers distance). If using a spacer, place
the end of the spacer in your mouth.
- Breathe out normally.
- Press the MDI down and cause it to spray while you breathe in slowly. (This is often
called a puff.)
- Continue breathing in as slowly and deeply as possible.
- Hold your breath for 10 seconds or as long as is comfortable (this gives the
medication time to work).
- Repeat steps 1 through 8 for a second inhalation (puff).