Dry Powder Inhaler Advantages, a Helpful Guide

Posted September 11, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

Inhalers are continuing to be a reliable and effective treatment for asthma and related conditions. However, dry powder inhalers are recently being seen as a good alternative because of some distinctive advantages.

So if you’re looking to switch from a metered dose inhaler (MDI) to a dry powder inhaler (DPI) and want to assess the advantages of them, then here is the list of dry powder inhaler advantages.

First, here’s a summary, then we’ll get into the details.

Dry Powder Inhaler Advantages:

  • Small and portable
  • Less physical coordination and breath-actuated 
  • No cold freon effect supports a complete inhale
  • Gives reliable feedback on dosage and refills 
  • Multiple-dose mechanism
  • High pulmonary deposition – rate up to 40%
  • Environmentally friendly, no propellants or preservatives

So, let’s dive into some of the details of these inhalers to understand more about dry powder inhaler advantages

Small and Portable

Dry Powder Inhaler Advantages

One of the first and foremost advantages of DPI’s is that they’re small and handy, making them more portable than many MDI’s.

The size of DPI’s is made smaller than other inhalers with the help of advanced technologies, which makes DPI’s more easily fit into any bag or pocket. 

This portability is very important for sudden asthma attacks and related emergencies.

So, if you’re someone who needs to carry inhalers wherever you travel, then DPI’s could be the way to go.

Less Physical Coordination 

Most MDI’s and inhalers require greater physical coordination in operating the device, and for obtaining the correct medication released from the device.

This means you’ll need to coordinate the hand movement of pressing the canister to release the medication from the inhaler and slowly inhale the medication into the lungs.

This is known as the “press and breath” method that makes the inhaler work. This two-way coordination and the need to do it in parallel to get an effective dosage can be challenging to master. MDI’s also need to be shaken before using them, which just adds an additional step to the process.

Thankfully in DPI’s, you’ll only need the physical coordination of inhaling deeply to get the medication into the lungs.

In other words, DPI’s are breath-actuated, which means the inhaler activates and releases the medications as soon as you start inhaling. So, you can focus on the breathing, rather than the activation of the inhaler.

DPI’s have fewer requirements when compared to other inhalers. It only takes a small physical effort, such as inserting the medication into the inhaler and then inhaling.

No Cold Freon Effect

Most MDI’s and other inhalers that are not dry powder inhalers use a liquid which releases as an aerosol spray into the airways.

So, when you inhale, the liquid enters the mouth with a high velocity, and subsequent evaporation of liquid happens until the spray hits the back of the throat and provides a cooling effect.

This effect is called the “cold freon effect.” This effect makes it difficult to complete one full inhalation – or breathe – of the required dosage.

In other words, this cold effect can cause you to abort the inhalation, causing an inconsistent drug delivery, inaccurate dosage, and so on. This seems to be a more common issue among the elderly and young children. 

Since DPI’s use a powder, the cold freon effect is eliminated. As such, DPI’s can ensure a complete inhalation that would give the right dosage with a smoother and more consistent drug delivery.

Provides Reliable Feedback on the Dosage 

Dry Powder Inhaler Advantages

One of the main problems with regular MDI’s is that there’s no proper way of knowing if you’ve received the full, correct dosage. In other words, it’s difficult to see if you’ve got the entire metered dose.

There is no way to know if the drug is delivered into the lungs – unless you can feel the cold freon effect and the subsequent easing of symptoms.

In contrast, most DPI’s are inbuilt with a spinning technology. When the patient inhales, the capsule in the inhalers begins to spin. The spinning from inhalation causes the medication to be ejected through holes in the capsule due to centrifugal force. The design of dry powder inhalers helps patients ensure they are getting the full dose of their medication easily.  

When all the powder in the capsule is inhaled, the capsule becomes clear and will look empty or appear transparent. This is a great way to provide some level of assurance that you’ve inhaled the full dose.

As such, DPI’s provide a more reliable level of feedback to the user on whether or not you’ve received an effective dose. 

Multiple-Dose Mechanism 

Many DPI’s comes with a multiple-dose mechanism. This means the device contains a bulk amount of powder and a built-in mechanism to meter a single dose.

So, during actuation, individual doses are delivered. This gives extra convenience for patients prescribed with high doses. This also – to a great extent – reduces the need to obtain refills more often.

These forms of inhalers also have dose counters. So, you can easily count the doses and prepare them on time for a refill. Thus, the risk of running out of medication during emergencies can be avoided – at least most of the time. 

A High Pulmonary Deposition Rate

Pulmonary deposition rate, in basic terms, is the amount of inhaled particles that make it through and are deposited into the lungs.

As a general rule in most inhalers like MDI’s, experts say that no more than 20% of the emitted dose reaches the lungs. In contrast, DPI’s have a pulmonary deposition rate that goes as high as 40%. 

As such, DPI’s provide effective drug deposition, which can contribute to better treatment of the medical condition. This high drug deposition rate gives great customer satisfaction to users in terms of effectiveness and for their investment. 

Environmentally Friendly

As strange as it may sound, DPI’s are environmentally friendly over other types of inhalers.

This is because there are claims that the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants used in MDI’s are contributing to irreparable damage to the ozone layer in the atmosphere.

So, as not to contribute to this effect, many pharmacists tried to develop non-CFC propellants for use in MDIs.

DPI has no propellants or preservatives. So, it gives further satisfaction to the user, as they use a more environmentally friendly product. 

To Close

We hope this has given you a greater understanding of the dry powder inhaler advantages over MDI inhalers.

If you are having trouble affording your medication, then contact us. Prescription Hope works with pharmaceutical manufacturers to help you receive your medication at a set, affordable cost.

Enroll with us to find out if you are eligible to receive your prescription medications for $50 a month for each medication.