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Using Dry-Powder Inhalers (DPIs)

Some asthma medicines are breathed in using inhalers. Dry-powder inhalers (DPIs) deliver measured doses of powdered medicine into your lungs. DPIs often have counters to track the number of doses used. Keep in mind that DPIs don’t all work the same way. To use yours correctly, follow the steps below.

Using a DPI

  1. Wash your hands.

  2. Take off the cap. Hold the DPI based on the manufacturer's directions.

  3. Load the prescribed dose of medicine by following the instructions that came with the inhaler.

  4. Sit up straight in a chair or stand up.

  5. Take a deep breath in. Then breathe out as much as you can to empty your lungs, holding the inhaler away from your mouth. Hold your chin up.

  6. Put the mouthpiece between your lips. Make a tight seal. Breathe in deeply through the inhaler, not through your nose. You may not feel or taste the medicine as you breathe in. This is normal.

  7. Take the mouthpiece out of your mouth. Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds (or as long as you can) with your mouth closed. Keep your mouth closed.

  8. Breathe out slowly, away from the direction of the inhaler. But don't breathe out through the inhaler. Moisture from your breath can make the powder stick inside the inhaler. Then start normal breathing.

  9. Close the inhaler. Store it in a cool, dry place.

  10. If an inhaled corticosteroid was used, rinse and gargle your mouth with water. Spit it out, don't swallow it.

  11. Don't wash your DPI with soap and water. To clean the mouthpiece, wipe with a dry cloth. Do this at least one time a week or as needed.

Online Medical Reviewer: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2019
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