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Inhaler Technique

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Inhaler technique in asthma and COPD

Respiratory symptoms and disease are common health issues in the UK today. Inhaled therapy is the method of choice for the delivery of many respiratory drugs and correct technique with inhaler devices is critical to effective management. However, inhaler technique is known to be suboptimal in many patients, thereby impacting on their symptom and disease control and, ultimately, their quality of life. Inhaler technique is an issue made complex by a number of patient- and healthcare professional-related factors. This complexity is further complicated by the increasingly extensive range and variety of inhaler devices and drugs available.

British and international guidelines recommend that patients should only be prescribed an inhaler after they have had training in the correct use of that device, and that their technique should be assessed via demonstration at every review.

This resource, which is based on typical case scenarios, is offered at a basic and intermediate level and consists of ten assessment questions at introductory and intermediate levels to support your continuing professional development. Complete the resource to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Aims and Objectives

On completion of this resource you should have an understanding of:

  • The benefits of inhaled therapy
  • The impact of poor inhaler technique
  • The different types of inhaler device
  • The common steps to correct inhaler technique
  • The role of spacer devices

Practice Nurse featured articles

Setting a new benchmark in asthma care  Tricia Smith

Inhaled therapy: all in the technique  Rachel Booker

Reading List

British Thoracic Society and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. British Guideline on the Management of Asthma, 2012

NICE CG101 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (update): full guideline, 2010. Available at

Further education and training

Training in inhaler technique and devices is included on all asthma diploma and degree level courses, as well as at one-day workshops provided by Education for Health. Please follow the links below to relevant courses. 

Asthma eLearning Degree Module 

Asthma eLearning Diploma Module

Asthma eLearning Diploma Module (Stirling)

Asthma eLearning Diploma Module (London)

Essentials of Asthma Workshop

Paediatric Asthma Workshop

Date of preparation: Januaray 2014

Review date: January 2015