These inhalers are vital to helping people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) live a normal life, alleviating not just their symptoms but also their overall distress. This is why they are so commonly used, and why there are now so many different models are available. Most of the time, inhalers contain corticosteroids or bronchodilators. Sometimes, they contain a combination of both. The most common brands are Advair, Combivent, Pulmicort, and Symbicort.

How COPD Inhalers Work:

The medication found in the inhaler goes straight into the airway. Hence, people often only need a small dosage, because the drug is absorbed so easily. The respiratory tract will use up most of the medication, with only very little entering the other body systems. Thanks to this, these inhalers have almost no side effects. Any side effects that people do experience tend to be mild and do not affect the overall quality of life. The only exception is in inhalers that contain steroids. Should the patient have an open wound in the mouth, even a very small one, this could lead to infections. However, these infections are generally very easy to treat.

Choosing COPD Inhalers:

When people are diagnosed with COPD, they will receive a full explanation of the different inhalers that are available and what they do. The physician or COPD nurse will also recommend which one they feel is most applicable. However, patients can usually choose which one they like the most. In fact, most clinics have a number of different inhalers on site, and people can actually test them. It is also common for those who have COPD to find that an inhaler is not as convenient as they had expected, or that their situation has changed, in which case they change inhalers at a later stage. The most common types of inhalers currently available are:

1. Nebulizers
2. Breath activated inhalers
3. Inhalers with spacer devices
4. Pressurized metered dose inhalers

In 2008, a complete study was conducted on COPD inhalers and how they benefit patients. What this study showed was that all inhalers play a vital role not just in making patients more comfortable, but also in slowing down the rate at which their lung function declines. What this means is that inhalers also work as a form of preventive medicine. COPD is a progressive chronic condition for which there is currently no cure. Being able to slow down its progression, therefore, is hugely important.

As a result of this study, inhalers are becoming increasingly important and more studies are being conducted on them. It is now known that they help make COPD symptoms much less severe, and as the study showed, they slow down the progression of the disease. The study found that inhalers that contained a beta-agonist and/or corticosteroids were the most effective in slowing down the rate of lung function decline. This suggests that, as soon as people are diagnosed with COPD, they should be provided with an inhaler even if they feel they might not need it yet.