Using your inhaler

Although it might seem simple, it can be hard to get the steps just right without an expert showing you how. And if it’s been a while since you were last shown, it’s easy for little mistakes to slip into your routine.

Using your inhaler properly is important. With the right technique you can be sure that the dose prescribed by your doctor is the same as the dose received by your lungs. Using your inhaler properly can give you better control of your asthma or COPD and may even mean you need to take less medication.

These film clips have been made to show you how to use your asthma or COPD inhaler properly.

In each short clip, an asthma & respiratory educator demonstrates the correct use of one inhaler. Click on a link below to read more.

Types of inhalers

These film clips demonstrate the main types of inhalers prescribed in Australia but a number of others are available. The full range of inhalers is shown on the Asthma & COPD Medications Chart.

There are several types of medications for asthma and COPD, including relievers, preventers, symptom controllers and combination therapy. Different medications are available in different inhalers and some are available in more than one.

Standard MDI (puffer)*

Used with Airomir, Alvesco, APO-Salbutamol, Asmol, Atrovent, Combivent, Flixotide, Flixotide Junior, Intal, Intal Forte, Qvar, Seretide, Serevent, Tilade, Ventolin View video and instructions

Standard MDI (puffer)* with a spacer

Used with Airomir, Alvesco, APO-Salbutamol, Asmol, Atrovent, Combivent, Flixotide, Flixotide Junior, Intal, Intal Forte, Qvar, Seretide, Serevent, Tilade, Ventolin View video and instructions


Used with Flixotide, Flixotide Junior, Seretide, Serevent View video and instructions


Used with Airomir, Qvar View video and instructions


Used with Spiriva View video and instructions


Used with Bricanyl, Oxis, Pulmicort, Symbicort View video and instructions
*Metered dose inhaler, commonly called a puffer.


Getting the most out of your inhaler

Ask your doctor, pharmacist or asthma & respiratory educator to:

  • Explain how your inhaler should be used
  • Check you are using your inhaler properly
  • Tell you where to find the expiry date on your inhaler
  • Show you how to check if your inhaler is empty or nearly empty
  • Discuss any unwanted effects from your medication
  • Explain how to clean your inhaler and spacer (if you have one).

Resource for Health Professionals

Inhaler technique in adults with asthma or COPD: Information paper for health professionals

This information paper highlights the prevalence and clinical consequences of incorrect inhaler technique in adults with asthma and COPD, and outlines how poor technique can be improved.


Thanks to Ms Judi Wicking, asthma & respiratory educator, and the patients who participated in the film clips.

These film clips were developed by the National Asthma Council Australia as part of the ‘Prevent Puffer Problems’ campaign with funding from the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

‘Prevent Puffer Problems’ is a joint initiative of the:

  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • National Asthma Council Australia
  • The Australian Lung Foundation
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Australian General Practice Network