Q: I’m a 27-year-old with moderate-to-severe asthma. Do I really need to use a spacer as an adult? I find it cumbersome.
Dr. Bassett: The spacer, an inexpensive device that creates a holding chamber between the inhaler and the mouth, has been thought to lead to better delivery of aerosolized respiratory drugs, and thus improved asthma control.
However, a large study published in 2017 looked at thousands of teens and adults with asthma who used a spacer with a metered dose inhaler. The researchers did not find any improved asthma control when those patients were compared against others who were not using a spacer.
Yet, in young children, many asthma experts (including me) continue to believe that a spacer, with or without a mask, is helpful for optimizing aerosol drug delivery.
Bottom line: Speak to your asthma provider about the best asthma inhaler delivery devices and options for you. There is also a variety of spacers, some of which are smaller or collapsible.
In my view, there are few, if any, disadvantages of a spacer device, and many patients do feel the coordination of using their inhalers is improved.Submit a Question View all posts by this medical expert.