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Using a Dry Powder Inhaler

Check your medicine: Step 1

Picture of a man checking to make sure he has the correct medicine

Check that you have the correct medicine. If you use several inhalers, put a label on each one so that you know which one to use at the right time.

Remove the cap: Step 2

Picture of a man removing the cap from the inhaler

Remove the cap from the inhaler.

Load the inhaler: Step 3

Picture of a dose being loaded into the inhaler

Load a dose of medicine into the inhaler as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If your inhaler already has the medicine loaded, skip to step 4. Your inhaler may look different from the one pictured.

Breathe out completely: Step 4

Picture of a man breathing out completely

Tilt your head back a little, and breathe out slowly and completely. Hold the inhaler away from your mouth when you breathe out. Do not breathe out into the inhaler. This can blow some of the powder out of the inhaler. Also, the moisture in your breath can cause the dry powder to clump together and clog the inhaler.

Place the inhaler in your mouth: Step 5

Picture of a man placing the inhaler in his mouth

Place the inhaler in your mouth, and close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.

Inhale: Step 6

Picture of a man inhaling medicine

Inhale quickly and deeply through your mouth for 2 or 3 seconds. This pulls the powder from the inhaler into your lungs. After you have inhaled the powder, take the inhaler out of your mouth.

Hold your breath: Step 7

Picture of a man holding his breath and looking at his watch

Hold your breath for 10 seconds. This will let the medicine settle in your lungs. Then slowly breathe out through pursed lips.

Rinse your mouth: Step 8

Picture of a man rinsing his mouth

If you are using an inhaler with corticosteroid medicine, gargle and rinse out your mouth with water after you use the inhaler. Do not swallow the water.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKen Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Last RevisedNovember 29, 2011

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