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Spacer for metered-dose inhalers (MDIs)

A young person using a metered-dose inhaler with a spacer

A spacer is a chamber that can be attached to a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). The spacer chamber may have a one-way valve that allows the medicine to be held in the chamber before it is inhaled. This way you can inhale the medicine in one or many breaths, depending on your ability. A spacer:

  • Helps prevent getting a yeast infection in your mouth (candidiasis) or making your voice sound hoarse (dysphonia).
  • Increases the amount of medicine delivered directly to your airways, even if you have trouble using your inhaler.
  • Reduces the amount of medicine swallowed, so you're less likely to have side effects.

A spacer may be used with an inhaler, especially one that contains corticosteroids. Spacers also may be used by children who have trouble using a metered-dose inhaler correctly. Do not use a dry powder inhaler (DPI) with a spacer.

Current as of: February 24, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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