In this series, we highlight a range of respiratory- related devices and explain best practice on how to use them. In this issue, we look at how to use the turbuhaler dry powder inhaler.
The turbuhaler is the most common dry powder inhaler used in New Zealand. It has no propellant or carrier to deliver the medicine and is ‘breath-activated’. You will hardly notice any powder in your mouth.
How do I use my turbuhaler?
1. Unscrew and remove protective cover.
2. Hold the turbuhaler upright.
3. Twist the coloured grip as far as it will go in one direction and then back again until you hear a click. -Your turbuhaler is now loaded with a dose of medication.
4. Breathe out gently.
5. Place the mouthpiece between your lips: • Suck in deeply and forcefully through the turbuhaler. You may not taste or feel the medication. • Remove the inhaler from your mouth and breathe out. Do not breathe back into the mouthpiece as you will make it damp inside. • If more than one dose is required, repeat the steps above. • When you are finished, place the cover back on the inhaler and twist shut.
6. Your turbuhaler has a dose indicator window just below the mouthpiece, when you see red in the window it is time to get a new turbuhaler.
7. Rinse mouth and spit out after using a turbuhaler containing a corticosteroid.
What common mistakes should I avoid when using a turbuhaler?
• Not holding the inhaler upright when priming.
• Covering the air inlets with your lips.
• Breathing in through the nose instead of the mouth.
• Shaking the inhaler to see how much is left - this doesn’t work because the sound you hear is the powder that keeps the medicine dry, not the medicine itself.
• Storing the inhaler in a damp environment with the cap off.
For more information on turbuhalers and other dry powder inhalers, visit asthmafoundation.org.nz/yourhealth/living-with-asthma/asthma-medication/dry-powder-inhaler