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People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung conditions often take their medications using devices called a hydrofluoroalkane inhaler or HFA (former called a metered dose inhaler or MDI) or a dry powder inhaler (DPI).
A hydrofluoroalkaneinhaler is a handheld device that delivers a specific amount of medication in aerosol form, rather than as a pill or capsule. The HFA consists of a pressurized canister inside a plastic case, with a mouthpiece attached. With an HFA, you press on the device while inhaling the COPD medication directly into your lungs. Its portability makes it easy to use anywhere,anytime. HFAs use a chemical propellant to push medication out of the inhaler.
Some medications can be taken in the form of a dry powder, using a dry powder inhaler, which is also a handheld device. A DPI delivers medication to the lungs as you inhale through it. It doesn't contain propellants or other ingredients -- just your medication.
If you use the hydrofluoroalkane inhaler or dry powder inhaler the right way, you receive the right amount of COPD medication and it can reach deep inside your lungs. Then you can gain the full benefit of the medication. Also, if you use your inhaler the right way, you are less likely to experience side effects.
- Annie Stuart
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