April 24, 2024

Asthma Spacers: An Effective Delivery Method for Asthma Inhalers

One of the most common and effective ways to manage asthma symptoms is through the use of asthma medication delivered via an inhaler. While inhalers are convenient, it can be challenging for some people to properly coordinate breathing and actuation of the inhaler. This is where asthma spacers come into play. Asthma spacers are devices that make it easier for people to effectively use metered dose inhalers (MDIs) and reduce the risk of incorrect usage.

What are Asthma Spacers?
Asthma spacers, also sometimes referred to as asthma chambers or valved holding chambers, are plastic tube-like devices with one end that fits over the mouthpiece of an inhaler and the other end that a person breathes through. Spacers create extra distance between the inhaler and the mouth so that when the medication is released from the inhaler, it has more time and a larger space to form a fine mist that can properly enter the lungs. Without a spacer, much of the medication can deposit in the mouth or throat rather than making it down into the airways.

How do Asthma Spacers Work?
Asthma spacers work by allowing more time for medication released from an inhaler to form smaller particles. When a person uses their inhaler through a spacer, they actuate or push down on the inhaler canister which releases a burst of medication. This medication enters the spacers chamber where it has extra time and distance to break up into tiny particles small enough to make it deep into the lungs. Then, when the person inhales through the spacer, the mist is drawn into their airways rather than large droplets that may deposit elsewhere. The one-way valves in spacers prevent exhaled air from entering back into the device.

 Benefits of Using an Asthma Spacer
There are numerous benefits to using an asthma spacer with maintenance inhalers:
– Reduces medication deposition in mouth/throat and increases lung deposition – Up to 60-70% more medication reaches lungs compared to no spacer
– Ensures proper synchronized inhalation/actuation technique which is difficult without a spacer
– Helps young children, elderly, or those with difficulty coordinating breathing use inhalers effectively
– Prevents side effects from orally deposited medication
– More cost-effective to treat asthma as less medication is wasted

Asthma Spacers Help All Age Groups
While asthma spacers can benefit asthma patients of any age, they are particularly helpful for certain groups:

– Children
Teaching proper inhaler technique can be challenging for young children who have not yet mastered coordinated breathing. Spacers simplify the process and ensure medication reaches their airways effectively. They can also help children feel more independent using their inhalers.

– Elderly
As dexterity and lung function naturally decline with age, elderly patients can struggle using standard inhalers. However, spacers negate the need for excellent hand-lung coordination. They provide easy, mess-free asthma control suitable for older adults.

– During Asthma Flare-Ups
During asthma exacerbations when breathing is difficult, it’s nearly impossible to coordinate actuating an inhaler with inhalation. Spacers decouple this motion and allow treatment when symptoms are most severe. Patients report less anxiety using spacers in acute episodes.

Comparing Different Types of Asthma Spacers

While the basic principle of all Asthma Spacers is the same, they do vary in design features:

– Single-dose vs. Multiple-dose
Single-dose spacers are disposable after using once while multiple-dose have walls that can be cleaned and reused many times. Single-dose may be more convenient but are less environmentally-friendly.

– Size and Volume
Larger spacers with greater volume provide more time and space for aerosol formation. However, smaller compact versions fit easily in purses and bags.

– with vs. without Masks
Some pediatric spacers have molded masks to create a tight seal and ensure all mist is inhaled. Standard mouthpiece versions are easier to use.

– Construction Materials
Spacers are most commonly made from durable plastic but some feature breathable fabrics or inflatable designs for travel convenience. Material choice impacts durability, ease of cleaning, and size.

Overall, the most important factors in choosing a spacer are personal preference, the patient’s specific needs, and healthcare provider recommendation based on inhaler type. With a variety of options, most individuals can find a suitable spacer to simplify proper inhaler use.

Ensure Proper Spacer Cleaning and Maintenance

While asthma spacers offer significant benefits, they still need regular cleaning to function optimally and prevent the build-up of moisture, debris or medication residue. The following guidelines will help individuals properly maintain their spacers:

– Cleaning Frequency
Most major health organizations recommend at least once-weekly cleaning with mild soap and water. This can be increased as needed based on usage frequency and visible buildup.

– Cleaning Steps
Follow manufacturer instructions but basic steps are usually rinsing all surfaces with warm soapy water, shaking out excess water, and letting fully air dry before next use to prevent mold/mildew growth.

– Avoiding Damage
Handle spacers carefully and avoid harsh cleansers/solvents that may damage plastic. Store in dry, ventilation areas to prolong usability. Replace if cracks form to prevent particle accumulation.

With appropriate cleaning and maintenance, asthma spacers will provide reliable support for years of effective inhaler usage. Consult healthcare providers with any questions about optimal spacer hygiene.

Asthma spacers are simple devices that make a big difference in helping people with asthma of any age properly use their inhalers. By reducing medication waste and ensuring proper lung deposition, spacers help control asthma symptoms and prevent exacerbations. With the right education on usage and cleaning, they represent a highly effective component of routine asthma self

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it