The Asthma Center

Metered-dose inhaler instructions

Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) are devices that conveniently and easily administer medications directly to the airways. If you are taking an MDI, the following instructions will help you develop a proper technique. This technique is the key to effective delivery of medication to the airways.

  1. Remove the plastic dust cap.
  2. Shake the container vigorously immediately before using.
  3. Hold the inhaler up to your mouth with the mouthpiece down.
  4. Breathe out fully, slowly emptying your lungs of as much air as you can without straining. You are now ready to inhale your asthma medication.
  5. Activate the inhaler while very slowly and simultaneously breathing in the medication. Hold the medication in your lungs for 5 - 10 seconds and then slowly exhale. Choose from one of the following three techniques; use the one that works best for you:

    a. Closed Mouth Technique
    b. Open Mouth Technique
    c. Aerochamber Spacer
  6. Wait a few minutes, then repeat Steps 2 - 5 for a second inhalation.
  7. Rinse your mouth (gargle with water) if you are using corticosteroid inhalers.
  8. After each use, replace the plastic dust cap. This will prevent the loss of medication and will keep the valve clean.