Patient Information

How to use your dry powder inhaler

How to use your dry powder inhaler::

Are there different types of dry powder inhalers? — Yes. There are 2 main types of dry powder inhalers (figure 1):


  • Single-dose inhalers
  • Multiple-dose inhalers


The directions for the 2 types of dry powder inhalers are slightly different.

How do I use my dry powder inhaler? — Each dry powder inhaler has its own directions. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to use your inhaler.

In general, these are the steps for using a dry powder inhaler:


  • Open the inhaler or take off the cover
  • Load a dose of medicine:



  • For single-dose inhalers, you load a dose by taking a pill out of its packaging and putting the pill into the inhaler. Then you need to push 1 or more buttons on the inhaler to poke holes in the pill.
  • For multiple-dose inhalers, you load a dose by sliding a lever or twisting the bottom (or another part) of the inhaler.
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  • Hold your inhaler in the correct position — Some inhalers need to be held upright, but others need to be horizontal. Multiple-dose inhalers usually need to be horizontal.
  • Breathe out normally—but not into the inhaler
  • Put your mouth on the mouthpiece
  • Breathe in quickly and steadily, and as deeply as possible
  • Remove your mouth from the mouthpiece and hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds
  • Let your breath out—but not into the inhaler
  • For single-dose inhalers, open the inhaler, take out the used pill, and throw it away
  • If you are supposed to take 2 puffs of your inhaler, load another dose and breathe it in
  • Close your inhaler or replace the cover or cap
  • Rinse your mouth out with water, gargle, and spit out the water
  • Store your inhaler in a cool, dry place
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Do I need to clean my inhaler? — No. Do not wash a dry powder inhaler with water or put it under water. If the mouthpiece gets dirty, you can wipe it with a dry cloth.

How do I know when my inhaler is empty? — Many dry powder inhalers come with a built-in dose counter. A counter keeps track of how many doses are left in your inhaler.

When the counter reads 0 (zero), it’s time to throw out the inhaler because it has no more medicine in it. Make sure to have another inhaler on hand before the counter reads 0.

If your inhaler doesn’t have a built-in counter, you need to keep track of the number of doses left in your inhaler. Based on how often you use your inhaler, you can figure out when you will need a refill and write this date down

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