Asthma UK community forum
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Spacer vs. no spacer

I am going through a rough patch with my asthma again ;-( so using a lot of ventolin. I always try to use a spacer as I know this delivers more medication, plus I just find it easier when I'm struggling. However, if I'm out and about I just use the MDI.

If I use the spacer I get less side effects i.e tremor, heart palpitations even when taking 4-6 puffs, than if I were just to take 2 puffs directly from the MDI. Given the spacer delivers more medication, how come I get less side effects? Any thoughts anyone?

4 Replies

I can't answer the question but I also find I have less side effects using the spacer.

I am like you, much better using the spacer than no spacer. I had a month long blip when trying to reduce my meds in May and I got used to using my spacer in cafes when out. I was needing 5-7 puffs to settle things but nobody seemed to take any notice thank goodness cos I do get self conscious.


When you take the ventollin without the spacer you take the full dose of the medication in one go, hence more side effects. When you breathe it in using the spacer you are breathing it in under several breaths more gently, hence less side effects.


Good question and answers too so far. Asthma UK information on spacers is available here

They help to reduce side effects from especially higher doses as more reaches lungs and the amount swallowed is reduced thus less absorbed into the body.

A thought for when you're out and about Butterfly. What spacer do you have? The larger volumatic is not so easy to carry around but the smaller AeroChamber and Able Spacer (which fit an inhaler inside it) are much easier.


Ah brilliant, thanks for your replies, it makes sense now.

TJ - yes I have the big volumetric but also have the aerochamber, I hadn't really thought about taking it with me, I guess I ought to especially at the minute when I'm needing more of it and more often. I do get very self concious so usually find a corner to hide in while I take it anyway, so using the spacer won't make a difference really.


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