What are Inhalers? – Types of Inhalers

What are Inhalers?
What are Inhalers?

An inhaler (also known as a puffer, pump, or allergy spray) is a device that delivers medicines into the lungs through a person’s breathing activity. This technique enables medicines to be delivered to and absorbed in the lungs, targeted medical treatment to a specific region of the body, and reduction in the side effects of oral medications. There are a wide variety of inhalers available in the market. These are commonly used to treat a number of medical conditions with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) & Asthma being among the most notable.

Types of inhalers

There are many types of inhalers such as :

  • meter-dosed,
  • dry powder,
  • soft mist, and
  • nebulizers
Image Source: Slideshare

Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and is selected based on specific patient needs, his/her age, lung function, or condition. Awareness about the proper use of inhaler is important so that the inhaled medication has an intended effect on the lungs.

In 2009, the use of inhalers that used chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) as propellants was banned by the FDA. CFCs have now been replaced with hydrofluoroalkane (HFA). HFA is a greenhouse gas and is not environmentally inert but unlike CFCs, it does not affect the ozone layer. While some asthma sufferers argue that HFA inhalers are not as effective, published clinical studies indicate that HFA and CFC based inhalers are equally effective in controlling asthma.


Pneuma Respiratory, a North Carolina (United States) based startup founded in 2015 has developed the first fully integrated digital inhaler activated by breath.

Image Source: prnewswire.com

What is different about Pneuma Respiratory is that it pairs with a mobile app, helping patients get a real-time dose verification data. It also has an electronic breath actuation system, which is triggered when the user starts to inhale, drawing the medicine into the user’s lungs.

Most inhalers have a propellant within the device that shoots droplets of medicine into the user’s mouth. But with this kind of system, droplets can hit the back of the patient’s throat or deposit into the mouth.

Pneuma Respiratory’s inhaler doesn’t use a propellant but relies on the breath actuation feature to help the droplets directly reach the lungs through the breath.

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