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Why Do You Need a Spacer for Your Inhaler?

Why Do You Need a Spacer for Your Inhaler?

, by Aussie Pharma Direct, 7 min reading time

If you've ever used an inhaler to manage respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD, you might have heard about something called a spacer. But what exactly is a spacer, and why is it important in inhaler use? Essentially, a spacer is a device that attaches to your inhaler, helping to improve the delivery of medication to your lungs. Proper inhaler technique is crucial for ensuring that medications reach their intended target effectively. 

In this blog, we'll explore the role of spacers in inhaler use, discussing how they enhance medication delivery and improve treatment outcomes. From understanding what a spacer is to learning how to use it effectively, we'll cover everything you need to know to make the most out of your inhaler therapy.

What is an inhaler?

Inhalers are devices that are used for managing respiratory conditions, delivering medication directly to the lungs where it's needed most. There are several types of inhalers available, including: 

  • Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs)
  • Dry powder inhalers (DPIs)

MDIs deliver a measured dose of medication in aerosol form, typically requiring coordination between pressing the inhaler and inhaling the medication. On the other hand, DPIs release medication in powder form, activated by the user's inhalation alone.

How do the inhalers work?

Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs):

A metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is a handheld device that delivers a precise dose of medication in aerosol form. It consists of a pressurised canister containing the medication and a mouthpiece through which the user inhales the medication. When the canister is pressed, it releases a measured dose of medication in the form of a fine mist or aerosol. The user then inhales the medication deeply into their lungs. MDIs require coordination between pressing the canister and inhaling the medication to ensure effective delivery to the lungs. Some MDIs are equipped with dose counters to help users track the number of doses remaining in the canister.

Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs):

Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) deliver medication in powder form, which is activated by the user's inhalation alone. DPIs typically consist of a reservoir containing the medication powder and a mouthpiece through which the user inhales the powder. Unlike MDIs, DPIs do not require the use of propellants to deliver the medication. Instead, the user generates airflow by inhaling through the device, which disperses the medication powder into small particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. DPIs do not require coordination between pressing a canister and inhaling, making them easier to use for some individuals, particularly those with coordination difficulties. However, DPIs may require a higher level of inhalation force compared to MDIs to ensure effective medication delivery.

Now, if you're familiar with nebulisers and how they work, you might assume that inhalers operate similarly. However, there are some key differences between the two. Unlike nebulisers, which convert liquid medication into a fine mist for inhalation, inhalers release medication in either aerosol or powder form, allowing for quick and efficient delivery with just a few inhalations

Challenges with using an inhaler

Despite their effectiveness, inhalers pose challenges for many users, particularly in mastering the required coordination. Difficulty coordinating breath and medication inhalation is a common issue, leading to suboptimal medication delivery and reduced treatment efficacy. Factors such as improper inhaler technique, inadequate breath control, or physical limitations can further complicate the process, hindering the effectiveness of inhaler therapy.

What is a spacer and how does it work?

A spacer is a device designed to enhance the effectiveness of inhaler medication delivery. It serves as an intermediary between the inhaler and the user's mouth, providing several key benefits that can significantly improve treatment outcomes.


  • A tube-like device that attaches to the mouthpiece of an inhaler.
  • It typically consists of a chamber where the medication is released and a mouthpiece or mask for the user to inhale through.
  • Spacers come in various sizes and designs to accommodate different users and inhalers.

Mechanism of action:

When the medication is released into the spacer chamber, it is given more time to mix with air. This allows the medication to break up into smaller particles that are easier to inhale deeply into the lungs.The spacer holds the medication in suspension until the user is ready to inhale, ensuring a slower and more controlled inhalation process.


  • Overcomes coordination issues - Spacers help individuals who struggle with coordinating inhaler actuation with their breath.
  • Improves medication delivery - By holding the medication in suspension and creating smaller particles, spacers ensure more effective drug deposition in the lungs.
  • Reduces oral deposition - Spacers help prevent medication from being lost in the mouth or throat, reducing the risk of side effects associated with oral deposition.
  • Increases treatment efficacy - With improved medication delivery, spacers enhance the efficacy of inhaler therapy, leading to better management of respiratory conditions.

Who can benefit from using a spacer?

who use inhalers for managing respiratory conditions.

  • Children: Young children, especially those under the age of 5, often have difficulty coordinating the timing of inhaling with releasing the medication from the inhaler.
  • Older adults: As we age, our hand-eye coordination and dexterity can decline, making it difficult to use an inhaler properly. Spacers eliminate the need for precise coordination, making it easier for older adults to receive their medication effectively.
  • People with respiratory illnesses - Individuals with conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis may benefit from using a spacer.
  • People with neuromuscular conditions: Individuals with conditions that affect their muscle control, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, may find it challenging to use an inhaler properly.

What are the spacer options available in the market?

There are various types of spacers available in the market such as:

  • Traditional spacers
  • Collapsible spacers
  • Valved spacers
  • Mask spacers
  • Universal spacers

Innovative spacers like those offered by e-chamber provide a range of options designed to enhance convenience and effectiveness. These include:

  • La Petite - A compact spacer designed for easy storage and portability, ideal for use on the go.
  • La Grande - A larger spacer with a higher medication holding capacity, suitable for individuals who require larger doses of medication.
  • Mini - A smaller version of the traditional spacer, perfect for children or individuals with limited hand strength.
  • Turbo - A high-efficiency spacer designed to optimize medication delivery, particularly for individuals with severe respiratory conditions.
  • eco - An environmentally friendly spacer made from 100% recyclable cardboard and paper products. This collapsible spacer is convenient for storage and travel, suitable for all ages.

Looking to buy a spacer for your inhaler? Fortunately for you, you can find a selected range of e-chamber spacers, including La Petite, La Grande, and the eco spacer, available at Aussie Pharma Direct, making it easy to find the right spacer for your needs!

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