Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI)

Metered dose inhaler

An MDI is the most common type of inhaler. It uses a press and breathe method which delivers a specific dose of medication in aerosol form.


MDI’s use hydrofluroalkane to propel the medication. Only 20% of the drug will reach the airway if used correctly. The remainder reaches the oropharynx and is then swallowed.

It is essential that your patient uses the correct technique and the correct dose.

Commonly used drugs in MDI form are:

  • Short-acting beta2 agonists (SABA):
    • Examples include salbutamol. Common brands include Salamol®, Salbutamol® and Ventolin®. Terbutaline is another SABA called Bricanyl®.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS):
    • A commonly used inhaled corticosteroid is (Qvar®).
  • Combination drugs. Long-acting bronchodilator (LABA) and ICS:
    • Examples include Fostair®, Seretide MDI® and Flutiform Metered-dose Inhaler®