Nebulizer or Inhaler- Which is the Right Choice for You?


Nebulizer or Inhaler can help fight respiratory infections or ailments that require medication for expedite relief. Once your therapist makes the decision as to which medication is right for you, the next step is to choose proper delivery method for that medicine. The two most common delivery methods are nebulizers and metered dose inhalers, also known as aerochambers. Choosing the best method of medication delivery can depend upon the type of ailment and requirement of user.

Difference between Nebulizer and Inhaler

The need to deliver respiratory medication directly to the lungs is not reserved for the elderly or for young children alone. People of all ages can be affected by respiratory ailments, including allergies. Whether it’s a young child with bronchitis or the croup, a teenager with asthma, or an adult suffering from emphysema the need to rapidly administer medicine cannot be understated. While both nebulizers and inhalers deliver this medication directly to the lungs, there are benefits and disadvantages associated with each of them, so understanding how they affect the user is quite crucial. A common misconception is that a nebulizer therapy is stronger than that of an inhaler or aerochamber. Albuterol is probably the most common medication used for respiratory ailments and there have been numerous studies to show that patients receiving treatment with an inhaler do just as well as those with nebulizers.

So if both methods are effective, how do we determine which is right for your needs? In order to answer this question, it’s a matter of matching the user with the benefits of each delivery method.

Is a Nebulizer Right for You?

While an inhaler may be a great choice for those that can coordinate inhaling and dispensing their medication, the simplicity of a nebulizer is one way to overcome this shortcoming. Nebulizers can be electric or battery powered. They turn liquid medication into a fine mist that penetrates deep into the lungs. The users don’t have to actively do anything to properly receive their asthma medication other than regular breathing. All that is required is to stay at one place. The user just has to put the mouthpiece or facemask on, and just breathe. It is that easy.

Compact and portable compressor nebulizer systems come with all you need for your respiratory therapy needs. For people who like to travel, a portable nebulizer system can be extremely convenient. Portable compressor nebulizer with disposable nebulizer minimizes medication waste and increases patient compliance. Improper use of nebulizer can result in less medication getting directly into the lungs and therefore increasing recovery time. Many electric nebulizers do need to be plugged into a wall outlet in order to function, but there are some battery powered nebulizers that are completely portable. These portable nebulizers allow you to take asthma medication on the go.

Is an Inhaler Right Choice for you?

To use the inhaler a user must press the device to dispense the medication and inhale at the same time. It requires little, but significant amount of coordination between hand and mouth. Any error in timing can lead to improper dosing due to medicine not being inhaled into sufficient quantity into the lungs. One way to minimize the error while using inhaler is through the use of a spacer or aerochamber.  The spacer holds asthma medication so the user doesn’t need to coordinate inhaling while discharging the medication. They can just inhale whenever they are ready, which maximizes the amount of medication that gets inhaled into lungs. Since reducing the amount of drug deposition into the mouth is important, the aerochamber with flowsignal whistle can be used to reduce the coordination needed between canister activation and inhalation.

Benefits of inhalers over Nebulizers

One benefit that inhalers have over a nebulizer is the fact that they are much faster to use. If done correctly, one dosage from an inhaler with a spacer can take 30 seconds or less compared to a nebulizer that can take up to 10 minutes. Another benefit is that inhalers have fewer side effects. For instance, albuterol from an inhaler increases the heart rate less than that of a nebulizer. Another upside of the inhaler is the savings. The cost of nebulizers and related supplies aside, the cost of a dose of nebulizer albuterol can be 4-5 times the cost of albuterol delivered by an inhaler. One of the greatest benefits of an inhaler is the fact that they are so convenient and portable. They can be carried in your pocket or your purse, whereas a nebulizer is significantly more bulky and many require an AC cord and plug.

To strengthen the muscles we need to train regularly in the gym, similarly for our respiratory system require strengthening and practice as well. The Inspiratory Muscle Trainer can be used to strengthen respiratory muscles and improve breathing. In order to improve muscles used during exhalation, the Positive Expiratory Pressure Device can helps patients breathe more freely. Consulting a physical therapist can help make these decisions easier.