Key characteristics of different device types3,6,7

Ease of useRequires coordination between actuation and inhalation (which can be eased when used in conjunction with a spacer, or by using a breath-actuated pMDI)Varies; they are generally breath-actuated and do not require coordination between actuation and inhalationRequires assembly and coordination between actuation and inhalationNo specific breathing techniques have to be taught for using nebulizers
Suitable for maintenance or reliever medicationReliever and maintenanceReliever and maintenanceReliever and maintenanceReliever and maintenance
Treatment timeShortShortShortLonger than pMDIs / DPIs (duration depends on nebulizer device type)
PortabilityHighHighHighDepends on type
Multi-dose deviceYesSome DPIsYesNo
Dose counterYesYesYesNo
  • Abbreviations: DPIs, dry powder inhalers; pMDIs, pressurized metered-dose inhalers; SMIs, soft mist inhalers.