Successful Inhaler Counseling: Include Technique Videos


A lack of education leaves 31% of asthma/COPD patients with poor inhaler procedures.

Physicians assess inhaler technique in as few as 5% of pediatric patients, so it's no wonder improper use of inhalers is a common cause of asthma exacerbations. A lack of education leaves 31% of asthma/COPD patients with poor inhaler procedures.

The Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery recently published an article highlighting a teaching tool: online videos. Studies show that videos encourage the correct use of inhalers, which provides superior long-term disease control, and quality of life.

Many physicians habitually rely on their own health literacy skills to summarize inhaler package inserts, and then regurgitate this information to patients. Some inhaler inserts include helpful images, and descriptions on proper use, but simply reviewing the insert is not the most successful patient counseling method.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are worth an infinite number of words. Patients can watch inhaler technique videos—which are easily accessible and quick to watch—as often as necessary.

With a growing inhaler and device market comes an increase in healthcare professionals requiring education. It’s important to keep up to date with new products. Videos are effective supplemental educational tools for providers. They also help providers overcome barriers to effective counseling for asthma/COPD patients, including time, resources, and skills.

Because inhalers can be complex, pharmacists have a significant role in patient education. Every time pharmacists dispense an inhaler, they need to be sure the patient and/or caregiver has a chance to ask questions. They should ask first time users to demonstrate how they were taught to use their inhaler, and correct any errors.

To provide optimal patient care, all providers should encourage patients to watch videos on proper inhaler use. For the commonly dispensed inhalers, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians can find accurate patient-friendly videos and refer patients to them with confidence. Some manufacturershave a code on the inhaler package for easy access to videos on proper inhalation technique. As the digital era progresses, more device manufacturers will provide patients with video links to advertise the proper use.


Sposato B. Should inhaler prescriptions also recommend watching videos showing how to use inhaling devices properly? J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2018 May 29. Accessed June 21, 2018.

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