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Inhaler technique – HandiHaler

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  1. Open the lid of the HandiHaler by pulling it upwards, then open the white mouthpiece by pulling it upwards.
  2. From the packet of capsules, peel back the foil, exposing one capsule only and place the capsule in the chamber in the middle of the HandiHaler. Close the mouthpiece and press it down until you hear a click. Firmly press the green button on the side as far as it will go and release.
  3. Breathe out gently as far as is comfortable and not in the HandiHaler.
  4. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it. Ensure you teeth and tongue are not blocking the mouthpiece.
  5. Breathe in as quickly and deeply as possible. You will hear and feel the capsule vibrate if you breathe in correctly.
  6. Remove the HandiHaler from your mouth and hold your breath for up to 10 seconds or as long as you feel comfortable. Then breathe out slowly.
  7. To ensure you have inhaled all the medicine, repeat steps 3 to 6. Tip the capsule out. If the dose has been taken correctly, the capsule should be empty and can be disposed of. Close the mouthpiece and cap.

Using your HandiHaler device

  • Spiriva is a long acting bronchodilator which relaxes the muscles in your airways making it easier for the air to move in and out of your lungs.
  • The Spiriva capsules should only be used for inhalation through your HandiHaler device.
  • The capsules are for inhalation only and should not be swallowed.
  • Spiriva is designed to work slowly over 24 hours and therefore only needs to be used once a day.
  • If you have missed a dose, take it as soon as your remember. Do not take more than one dose in a single day.
  • If you do use more than 1 capsule in a day or if you wish to stop using your Spiriva, please seek medical advice.

What is inside the box?

  • Your HandiHaler device allows you to inhale the medicine in the Spiriva capsule.
  • Do not use the HandiHaler for any other medicine.
  • Your medicine is in powder form and contained in a capsule.
  • Each capsule contains a small amount of the powder, so the capsule is only partially filled.
  • The capsules are stored in a blister strip.
  • After the first opening of the blister, use within the next 9 days.
  • Each HandiHaler device can be used for 1 year.
  • Clean the mouthpiece of the device with a moist tissue as needed.
  • Store your inhaler at room temperature.


7 Steps to Success, Inhaler Technique (2014) (adapted).

Asthma UK, “How to use your inhaler” videos.

Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, “My Lungs My Life” videos.

“Getting the basics right, Inhaler Technique”. Primary Care Respiratory Society (2016).

For further support and information, please contact:

Royal Sussex County Hospital COPD Nurse Specialist: 01273 523109.

Worthing Hospital Respiratory Nurse Specialists: 01903 205111. Extension: 85858.

St Richard’s Hospital Respiratory Nurse Specialists: 01243 788122. Extension: 32395.

You can also contact your community pharmacist or practice nurse for advice.

The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: September 2021

Review Date: March 2024

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