Asthma Spacers - For Effective Medication Delivery

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Reviewed by Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist, on September 8, 2022

Introduction     |    Who needs a spacer?     |    Benefits of Spacer     |    Inhaler vs. Nebulizer

An asthma spacer is a device that increases the ease of administering aerosolized medication from a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). The spacer adds space in the form of a tube or a chamber between the can of medication and the patient’s mouth, thus allowing the patient to inhale the medication by breathing in slowly and deeply for five to 10 breaths.

Asthma Spacers - For Effective Medication Delivery

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Who can use Asthma Spacers?

  • All children under 4–5 years of age with the help of a mask
  • All adults taking a corticosteroid preventer medication with an MDI or puffer
  • Adults who have difficulty in coordinating the 'press and breathe' technique while using an MDI or puffer
  • Anyone taking a reliever medication during an asthma attack

What are the Benefits of using a Spacer with an Inhaler?

  • Makes it easier to take aerosolized medication
  • More medication is reached to the lungs, making the treatment more effective
  • Drug delivery to lungs is improved by 40% to 60%
  • Less medication is deposited in the mouth and throat
  • No need of coordinating puff press and breathing in at the same time

To properly use an inhaler without a spacer, a person has to coordinate a certain number of steps in a set order (pressing down on the inhaler, breathing in deeply as soon as the medication is released, holding your breath, exhaling), and not all patients are able to successfully complete this order. Hence, using an asthma spacer avoids such issues. Spacers also slow down the speed of the aerosol that comes from the inhaler. Because of this, less medication is needed for an effective dose to reach the lungs, and there are fewer side effects. There are valves on a spacer (which technically makes it a holding chamber) that make the patient inhale the contents of the spacer, but exhalation goes out into the air. The problem of coordinating a breath with a press of an inhaler is avoided, which makes its use easier for children under five and the elderly also.

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Monaghan AeroChamber Plus Z STAT MDI Spacer RDS Microspacer Aerosol Spacer Device Monaghan AeroChamber Plus Z STAT Anti-Static Valved Holding Chamber

Use of spacers may also reduce the risk of developing a yeast infection, known as oral thrush. Alternatively, rinsing the mouth after application of inhaled steroids will prevent oral thrush as well.


Inhaler vs. Nebulizer - Which is right for me?

Deciding between nebulizers and inhalers has always been a hustle for all respiratory patients. Choosing the right respiratory aid depends on the medication prescribed by your physician. It is best to ask them which product would suit your requirements better. Your physical condition also plays a vital role in deciding which product suits you best. You can also go the extra mile of testing them yourself and make the decision.

Article: Nebulizer V.S. Inhaler - How to choose?


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