Adequacy of inhaler technique used by people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

J Prim Health Care. 2013 Sep 1;5(3):191-8.


Introduction: Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are ongoing concerns to the health system. Poor inhaler technique results in less than optimal delivery of medicine to the lungs and consequent inadequate symptom control.

Aim: This study aimed to assess inhaler technique amongst people with asthma and/or COPD. The secondary aims were to investigate who provided education on inhaler technique and whether age, gender or ethnicity was associated with poor inhaler technique.

Methods: People with asthma or COPD who presented to a community pharmacy with a prescription for a respiratory inhaler were invited to participate in the study. Participants completed a brief questionnaire and had their inhaler technique assessed against a standard checklist.

Results: There were 103 participants from 26 pharmacies, 86 with asthma and 17 with COPD. Just over half (52.5%) of the assessments indicated good inhaler technique, with 68% of people using the Turbuhaler having good technique compared to 53% for the pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI) with spacer and 47% for the pMDI alone. The majority of people (76%) received their initial inhaler technique instruction from their doctor. Over half of participants did not recall having their inhaler technique rechecked.

Discussion: After prescribing appropriate therapy, correct inhaler technique is a cornerstone of achieving adequate therapy. Rechecking inhaler technique is a gap in care that needs to be addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Checklist
  • Community Pharmacy Services / organization & administration*
  • Dry Powder Inhalers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metered Dose Inhalers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Young Adult