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Practical aspects of inhaler use in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the primary care setting

Authors Yawn B, Colice G, Hodder R

Received 5 April 2012

Accepted for publication 28 May 2012

Published 25 July 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 495—502

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S32674

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Barbara P Yawn,1 Gene L Colice,2 Rick Hodder3,*

1Department of Research, Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester, MN, USA; 2Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Respiratory Services, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, USA; 3Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

*Professor Rick Hodder has sadly passed away recently

Abstract: Sustained bronchodilation using inhaled medications in moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) grades 2 and 3 (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines) has been shown to have clinical benefits on long-term symptom control and quality of life, with possible additional benefits on disease progression and longevity. Aggressive diagnosis and treatment of symptomatic COPD is an integral and pivotal part of COPD management, which usually begins with primary care physicians. The current standard of care involves the use of one or more inhaled bronchodilators, and depending on COPD severity and phenotype, inhaled corticosteroids. There is a wide range of inhaler devices available for delivery of inhaled medications, but suboptimal inhaler use is a common problem that can limit the clinical effectiveness of inhaled therapies in the real-world setting. Patients' comorbidities, other physical or mental limitations, and the level of inhaler technique instruction may limit proper inhaler use. This paper presents information that can overcome barriers to proper inhaler use, including issues in device selection, steps in correct technique for various inhaler devices, and suggestions for assessing and monitoring inhaler techniques. Ensuring proper inhaler technique can maximize drug effectiveness and aid clinical management at all grades of COPD.

Keywords: COPD, inhaler technique, bronchodilator, clinical management

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