Skip to Content

How to Use A Dry-Powder Inhaler


A dry-powder inhaler is a handheld device that delivers a dose of medicine as a powder when you inhale. You breathe the medicine deep into your lungs to open your airways.


How to use a dry-powder inhaler:

Some dry-powder inhalers require you to place the medicine inside the inhaler. Others come with the medicine already inside.

  • Follow the instructions to put together your inhaler, and get it ready to use. Open the inhaler mouthpiece, or remove the cap.
  • Check to make sure there are no foreign objects in the mouthpiece.
  • Breathe out fully, away from the inhaler. Never exhale into your inhaler.
  • Hold the inhaler as directed. Do not cover the vents. Place the mouthpiece between your lips.
  • Breathe in strongly for as long as you can to make the medicine come out.
  • Hold your breath for about 10 seconds. Breathe out slowly, away from the inhaler.
  • Make sure the counter has counted a dose, if your inhaler has a counter. If your inhaler uses capsules, check the capsule to make sure it is empty.
  • Repeat if more puffs are needed.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after you use your inhaler, as directed by your healthcare provider or specialist. Do not swallow the rinse water.
    How to Use a Dry-powder Inhaler

Care for your inhaler properly:

Close the mouthpiece or replace the cap after each use. Store the inhaler in a cool, dry place. Clean the inhaler at least once a week with a dry cloth, as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or specialist as directed:

Bring your inhaler to all of your visits. You may be asked to use your inhaler at these visits so your healthcare provider or specialist can make sure you are using it correctly. Write down your questions, so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider or specialist if:

  • Your inhaler does not work properly.
  • You cannot inhale strongly enough to make the medicine come out of the inhaler.
  • Your medicine is not controlling your symptoms.
  • The medicine irritates your mouth or throat, or it causes you to sound hoarse or lose your voice.
  • It feels like most of the medicine lands in your mouth or throat.
  • You run out of medicine before your next refill is due, or sooner than your healthcare provider or specialist says you should.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your lips or nails turn blue or gray.
  • The skin between your ribs or around your neck pulls in with every breath.
  • You feel short of breath, even after you use your inhaler.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.