COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a prevalent lung disease in Canada and many other countries around the world. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest infections. It may also have an impact on one’s quality of life, mood, and lifespan. As the fourth and sixth most common causes of hospitalization for Canadian men and women respectively, early diagnosis and management are crucial to prevent the progression of the disease.

People treat COPD with inhalers, which are drugs that you breathe into your lungs. Inhalers help alleviate symptoms of shortness of breath so that patients with COPD may do more and enjoy life to the fullest.

In this article, we will give you a rundown of the various types of inhalers available for COPD treatment. We’ll go through the active chemicals in inhalers, as well as the different doses available and the differences between them. We’ll also show you how to work with your doctor and pharmacy to make your inhalers more affordable.

How is COPD Treated?

Inhalers are the most frequent device for administering COPD medicines. These devices come in various shapes and sizes, and we’ll go through each one in this tutorial. When used correctly, the medication gets to where it needs to go: the lungs. Other aids, including spacers and nebulizers, can also be helpful.

What Are the Different Types of Inhalers?

The two primary types of inhalers are metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) and dry powder inhalers (DPIs). An inhaler may be referred to as a “preventer” or “reliever” by your healthcare practitioner.

One can avoid COPD symptoms and exacerbations with the use of a preventer inhaler. These are taken once or twice a day at approximately the same time. Meanwhile, a reliever inhaler provides instant symptom alleviation. One can take it once or several times per day. The individual’s symptoms determine their effectiveness.

MDIs and DPIs can give both relievers and preventatives. The critical distinction between them is how they function.


MDIs are liquid-filled vials that contain medication. As a spray can, the inhaler blasts liquid medicine out as an aerosol. When utilizing an MDI, you must take a big breath right before pressing the inhaler’s button. For some people, the timing of this can be tricky.


DPIs are dry powder capsules or disks that carry a sealed dose of dry powder. The inhaler mechanism pierces the tablet, and the powder is sucked directly into the lungs through the mouth. For other people, DPIs are more convenient to use because all it takes is a deep inhale to release the drug. These inhalers might not be ideal for you if you can’t inhale deeply.

A few other devices can be used for the inhalation of COPD medications, as follows:

Spacer Chambers

You may be given a spacer along with your inhaler prescription. A spacer is a mouthpiece with a plastic tube that connects it to your inhaler. It aids the medication’s effective delivery to your lungs. The drug is more likely to linger in your mouth instead of reaching your lungs if you don’t use a spacer. The drug will not work as well and is more likely to induce side effects if this occurs. Only MDIs function with spacers, and they make them much easier to use.


A nebulizer is a machine that converts a liquid drug (like the one in your MDI inhaler) into a mist that you can inhale through a mask. Although some people find nebulizers easier to operate, they take much longer and are less practical to use than an MDI or DPI.

Hospitals use nebulizers when a patient is short of breath. Some people keep nebulizers at home for usage daily or in an emergency, depending on the situation.


Bronchodilators are drugs that relax the muscles surrounding the airways, allowing them to open more easily. Experts use medications known as beta-agonists and anticholinergics as bronchodilators in COPD inhalers. Short-acting or long-acting drugs are available for either rapid relief or long-term management of symptoms.

Is Asthma and COPD Management the Same?

Asthma and COPD are two distinct illnesses. In asthma, the airway blockage is frequently reversible, and people with asthma can have normal lung function between exacerbations. COPD, on the other hand, has a fixed and increasing airway blockage.

However, asthma and COPD maintenance treatment combinations are currently available on the market—inhalers included.

What’s Next?

After consulting with your doctor about which inhaler and prescription will work best for you, get the best COPD medication in Edmonton from Walker Lake Pharmacy.

We recognize that controlling asthma or COPD requires more than just completing a prescription. In line with that, we make sure you have all of the knowledge and tools you need to feel in control of your situation. Call us today to know what we can do to help you better manage your condition.