Sustained bronchodilation using inhaled medications in moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) grades 2 and 3 (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines) has been shown to have clinical benefits on long-term symptom control and quality of life, with possible additional benefits on disease progression and longevity. Aggressive diagnosis and treatment of symptomatic COPD is an integral and pivotal part of COPD management, which usually begins with primary care physicians. The current standard of care involves the use of one or more inhaled bronchodilators, and depending on COPD severity and phenotype, inhaled corticosteroids. There is a wide range of inhaler devices available for delivery of inhaled medications, but suboptimal inhaler use is a common problem that can limit the clinical effectiveness of inhaled therapies in the real-world setting. Patients' comorbidities, other physical or mental limitations, and the level of inhaler technique instruction may limit proper inhaler use. This paper presents information that can overcome barriers to proper inhaler use, including issues in device selection, steps in correct technique for various inhaler devices, and suggestions for assessing and monitoring inhaler techniques. Ensuring proper inhaler technique can maximize drug effectiveness and aid clinical management at all grades of COPD.
Keywords: COPD; bronchodilator; clinical management; inhaler technique.