Why use a spacer?
Clinical studies have shown that by adding a spacer to a pressurised metered dose inhaler, drug delivery to the lungs can be improved by 40% to 60%1. For this reason you should always a spacer in conjunction with your puffer for both your daily preventer medication and when using your reliever in an emergency.
Using a spacer means:
- more medication is delivered to your lungs making it more effective
- reduced side effects from inhaled steroids in prevented medications because less medication is deposited in your mouth and throat
- dosing is easier as you don’t need to coordinate pressing your puffer and breathing in at the same time
Who should use a spacer?
It is recommended that people of all ages with asthma should use as spacer. Young children should use a face mask with their spacer. Once they are about two years of age you can introduce them to using the mouthpiece of the spacer instead, depending on their ability to seal their lips around the mouthpiece.
How do you use a spacer?
- Remover the protective cap from the puffer, shake the puffer well and insert it firmly into the end of the spacer
- Seal you lips around the mouthpiece (or place the mask over your child’s mouth and nose)
- Breathe out gently
- Press the puffer once to release a dose of medicine into the spacer. Do not remove the puffer.
- Breath in and out about 4 times keeping your lips sealed around the mouthpiece (or the child’s mask in position).
- You should only put one puff of medication into your spacer at a time. If you put more than one puff in, the medication sticks together and drops to the bottom of the spacer before you can inhale. If a second dose is needed, shake the puffer again and repeat steps 2-5. You can shake the puffer while it is still attached to the spacer.
How do you clean a spacer?
A spacer needs to be washed before you use it for the first time and about every four weeks.
- Take the spacer apart and wash in clean, warm water with dishwashing detergent.
- Allow to air dry – do not rinse or wipe dry. The detergent residue helps to prevent the creation of static electricity inside the spacer, stopping the medication sticking to the sides of the spacer.
Spacers should be replaced every 6-12 months as tiny scratches and abrasions will reduce it’s effectiveness. Replace your space immediately if it cracks or breaks.
1STEPHEN P NEWMAN, ANN B MILLAR, TIMOTHY R LENNARD-JONES, FOLKE MOREN, STEWART W CLARKE Improvement of pressurised aerosol deposition with Nebuhaler spacer device Thorax 1984;39:935-941