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Table 1 Principal features of available inhalers

From: The importance of inhaler devices in the treatment of COPD

Device Type Advantages Disadvantages
metered-dose inhalers (pMDI’s)
• CFC driven (obsolete) Portable and compact Ozone-depleting properties (CFC driven)
• HFA driven Independent of inspiratory flow Better perform with spacers (CFC driven)
• Breath-actuated Reproducible dosing Need to be shaken prior use (CFC driven)
No contamination risk Require coordination between actuation and inspiration (CFC and HFA driven)
Quick and easy to use High oropharyngeal deposition
Wide variety of drugs available Cold Freon effect
Low cost
Dry powder
inhalers (DPI’s)
• Single-dose Portable and compact Inspiratory flow dependent
• Multi-dose Do not require coordination Poor dose reproducibility
• Power-assisted Quick and easy to use Affected by environmental factors (i.e. humidity)
No spacer required
Soft-mist inhaler   Portable Dose loading into device
Slow velocity aerosol
Long plume duration
Does not require coordination
No propellant
No spacer required
Nebulisers • Jet Propellant free Bulky equipment
• Vibrating mesh High patient’s adherence More complex use
• Ultrasonic Slow velocity aerosol Power source
Requires frequent cleaning