Advantages and disadvantages for inhalers

Device Advantages Disadvantages
Metered dose inhalers.
  • Portable and convenient.
  • Non breath activated.
  • More cost effective than dry powder inhaler.
  • No preparation.
  • Patient co-ordination essential.
  • High pharyngeal deposition.
  • Difficult to determine remaining doses.
Breath actuated aerosol inhalers.
  • Portable.
  • Convenient.
  • No co-ordination or high flow rate required.
  • Limited range available.
Dry powder devices.
  • Portable and compact.
  • Propellant not required.
  • Patient co-ordination not required.
  • No need for spacer.
  • Most have dose counters.
  • Difficult to deliver in high doses?
  • Flow dependent.
  • Some require assembly.
  • More expensive than metered dose inhaler.
  • Cannot use with endotracheal or tracheostomy tube.

Note: the same drug or a combination of drugs can be given in a different type of inhaler e.g. Symbicort MDI and Symbicort Turbohaler.