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Inhaler technique – Metered dose inhalers with Aerochamber spacer

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Metered dose inhaler with aerochamber spacer

  1. Remove the cap from your inhaler.
  2. Shake your inhaler and insert the mouthpiece into the hole at the end of the aerochamber spacer.
  3. Breathe out gently as far as is comfortable and not into the spacer.
  4. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it. Ensure your teeth and tongue are not blocking the mouthpiece.
  5. Press the canister down to release one puff of medicine into the spacer. Breathe in slowly and steadily If you hear a whistling sound, you are breathing in too quickly.
  6. Remove the spacer from your mouth and hold your breath for up to 10 seconds or as long as you feel comfortable. Then breathe out slowly If it is difficult to take deep breaths, you can breathe in and out of the mouthpiece several times (the tidal breathing technique).
  7. Wait for up to 30 seconds to allow your inhaler to refill If you need to take a second dose from your inhaler, repeat steps 2 to 6.
  8. If your inhaler contains a steroid ingredient, you should rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after using it; this is to prevent infections such oral thrush. Replace the cap after use.

There are many different types of metered dose inhalers. Your inhaler has been prescribed for you only and to treat your specific lung condition.

How to look after your aerochamber spacer

  • Wash your spacer once every month and it should be replaced after one year.
  • Remove the rubber end from the spacer.
  • Prepare a bowl of room temperature water with some detergent. Place both rubber end and spacer in the bowl of water.
  • Leave to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse well with water. Leave to drip dry overnight.
  • Do not use any towels, tissues, sponges or anything abrasive to clean or dry your spacer device.
  • Do not rub the inside with a cloth or polish as this causes static build up which can affect how the device works.
  • Aerochamber spacers are not suitable for dishwashers.
  • You can clean the mouthpiece with a moist tissue after each use if needed.

Why should I use a spacer device with my metered dose inhaler?

Did you know that even with perfect inhaler technique up to 80% of a dose can be wasted?

Using a spacer device means:

  • You can double the amount of drug from your inhaler getting into your lungs.
  • It is easier to get the right dose of medicine.
  • You may need to use less medicine.
  • Spacers help prevent the medicine from sticking to the back of your throat. They help reduce the risk of side effects (such as sore throat, voice hoarseness or oral thrush if using steroid containing inhalers).


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: October 2021

Review Date: July 2024

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