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Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler Without a Spacer

Shake inhaler and remove cap: Step 1

A man removing the cap from an inhaler

Shake the inhaler as directed, and remove the cap. Check the inhaler instructions to see if you need to prime your inhaler before you use it. If it needs priming, follow the instructions on how to prime your inhaler.

Hold inhaler upright: Step 2

A man holding the inhaler upright

Hold the inhaler upright with the mouthpiece at the bottom.

Tilt head back and breathe out: Step 3

A man tilting his head back and breathing out

Tilt your head back slightly, and breathe out slowly and completely.

Position the inhaler: Step 4

A man holding the inhaler in two positions

There are two ways to position the inhaler when using it without a spacer. You can hold the inhaler 1 in. (2.5 cm) to 2 in. (5.0 cm) in front of your open mouth, without closing your lips over it. This method might be hard for some people. Or you can place the inhaler in your mouth. This is the least efficient way to use the inhaler.

Start breathing in and press on the inhaler: Step 5

A man pressing on the inhaler and breathing in

Start to breathe in slowly, evenly, and deeply; press down on the inhaler one time (start to breathe in, then press); and continue to breathe in slowly.

Hold your breath: Step 6

A man holding his breath while looking at his watch

Hold your breath for 10 seconds. This will let the medicine settle in your lungs.

If you need to take a second dose, wait 30 to 60 seconds to allow the inhaler valve to refill.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedFebruary 22, 2013

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