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What are the advantages of using inhaled drugs to treat asthma in children?

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Key points

  1. One dose of inhaled medication contains 40 times less medication than a 4mg tablet of salbutamol, yet delivers the same benefits, when taken properly
  2. At least 50% of pMDI users have less than optimal technique and could benefit from using a spacer
  3. Younger children or those with poor dexterity are often unable to coordinate inhalation with activation of a pMDI and benefit from using a spacer
  4. Spacers should be cleaned regularly to avoid contamination with pathogens such as pseudomonas, klebsiella and staphylococcus
  5. Correct inhaler technique could reduce hospital admissions making considerable savings for the NHS


Let’s discuss

What difficulties do children have using pressurised metered dose inhalers?

When would you suggest using a spacer device to deliver inhaled drugs?

Why does static electricity accumulates on many polycarbonate and plastic spacers and what effect does it have on effectiveness of drug delivery? How can this problem be reduced?  

What advice would you give children and parents about care of their spacer device?

You can email questions to or tweet @eileenshepherd

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