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How to Use Dry Powder/Diskus Inhalers Right

A dry powder inhaler (DPI) is a tool that brings dry powder medication to the lungs. It is generally used for treating COPD, asthma and many other diseases affecting the respiratory system.

A Diskus is a type of DPI that delivers an exact dose and is breath-actuated, meaning, you need to breathe in fast and deep in order to use it. It is often a mix of bronchodilators and corticosteroids and are prescribed for day-to-day use.

A diskus inhaler is made up of four key parts: the mouthpiece, the grip, the cover, and the dosage lever. Like other inhalers, there is a unique process involved when you use a diskus. Before anything else, take a look at the dose counter, though this does not apply if you’re using the inhaler for the first time. You usually need to use both your hands for this, especially if you’re a newbie. Now slide your thumb on the grip to open the inhaler – once you hear a click, that means it’s open.

Loading the dose is as easy – hold the diskus horizontally while dragging the lever down to the bottom where you’re supposed to hear another click. Keep in mind that the drug is housed in a little chamber, so holding it another way can displace it, keeping it from releasing the right dose when you use it.

Prior to inhaling, exhale fully then cover the mouthpiece tightly with your lips, inhale deeply and hold it for around five seconds so the medication can move down perfectly. Now slowly exhale away from the diskus. You have to breathe away from the diskus so it remains moisture-free and you can keep the powder from getting bunched up. This also means getting a full and fresh dose whenever you use the inhaler. And not to mention moisture can provide a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Another important thing to remember is to breathe in as quickly and forcefully as you can so you can pull up the entire dose from the inhaler with enough power. The 5-second rule for holding your breath is to allow maximum deposition of the medication in your lungs. Make sure you close the diskus right after using for the same reason that you breathe out away from it – to prevent moisture from getting inside.

Lastly, compared to other inhalers, a diskus offers a number of advantages, including consistency of dose, reliability, direct deposition to the lungs, and flexibility (because it can be used for many different medications for respiratory conditions). This is the main factor behind this type of inhaler’s popularity among doctors and patients alike.

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