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Dry Powder/Diskus Inhalers and How to Use Them

A dry powder inhaler (DPI) is a tool that takes a powdered form of medication to the lungs. It is usually used as treatment for respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma and the like.

A Diskus is a type of DPI that delivers an exact dose and is breath-actuated, meaning, you need to breathe in fast and deep in order to use it. It is often a mix of bronchodilators and corticosteroids and are prescribed for day-to-day use.

A Diskus inhaler comes with four general parts, namely, the dosage lever, the mouthpiece, the grip, and the cover. Like other inhalers, there is a unique process involved when you use a diskus. First things first, check the dose counter, but this is not necessary if you’re taking your first dose from that inhaler. You usually need to use both your hands for this, especially if you’re a newbie. Now slide your thumb on the grip to open the inhaler – once you hear a click, that means it’s open.

Loading the dose is as easy – hold the diskus horizontally while dragging the lever down to the bottom where you’re supposed to hear another click. Note that the drug is contained in a very small chamber, which means it could easily get displaced, hence preventing you from receiving the correct dose.

Prior to inhaling, exhale fully then cover the mouthpiece tightly with your lips, inhale deeply and hold it for around five seconds so the medication can move down perfectly. Now release your breath slowly and away from the diskus. The purpose of breathing out away from the diskus is to prevent moisture, which can cause the particles inside to lump together. This way, you will get a fresh and full dose each time. And not to mention moisture can provide a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Yet another crucial tip to take note of is that you need to inhale fast, deep and with a force that’s enough for you to breathe in the full dose. Holding your breath for five seconds will enable the drug to be deposited in your lungs as effectively as possible. Be sure to close the diskus immediately after you use it for the same reason as exhaling away from it – you need to protect the inside from moisture.

Lastly, a diskus offers several advantages compared to other types of inhalers, such as consistency of released doses, straightforward deposition of a drug to the lungs, and the variety of respiratory drugs that are compatible with the diskus delivery process. This is the main factor behind this type of inhaler’s popularity among doctors and patients alike.

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