4 Benefits of Inhaled Medications to Improve Life with COPD and Asthma

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are common lung conditions that significantly impact the lives of millions of people across the world. Managing these lung conditions often involves using inhaled medications on a daily basis.

Inhaled medications have changed the way we manage respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma. These medications deliver drugs directly to the lungs, with minimal side effects.

Patients can breathe better, reduce exacerbations (a worsening of symptoms), and enhance their quality of life.

In this blog post, we explore the advantages of inhaled medications and how they can make the lives of those living with COPD and asthma better.

Table of Contents

Introduction — how inhaled medications work

Unlike oral medications (pills/liquids), which have to go through your digestive tract and pass through the liver before reaching the lungs, inhaled medications are delivered directly to your lungs allowing them work faster with less side effects.

Inhaled medications are available in different forms, including metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), and dry powder inhalers (DPIs). Each device delivers a specific medication effectively and efficiently.

The main goal of inhaled medications are to relax the muscles that circle the airways. This opens up the airways making it easier to breathe. Also, these medications can reduce inflammation and respiratory symptoms.

By targeting the lungs, inhaled medications offer relief with less chance of the medication spreading throughout the body. This helps you better manage your symptoms and reduce any possible side effects. Some benefits of inhaled medication include:

  1. Targeted Medication to the Lungs
  2. Reduced Side Effects
  3. Better Breathing Control
  4. Versatility and Wide Range of Medications

Benefit 1: Targeted Medication to the Lungs

In the world of respiratory medications, targeted medication delivery is a game-changer. It has changed the way we treat COPD and asthma.

Unlike oral medications, inhaled medications don’t pass through the digestive system and then travel to the lungs. Instead, they are inhaled and travel directly to the airways and the lungs. This targeted delivery helps the medication work faster and more effectively.

Targeted medication to your lungs is important because it may reduce potential interactions with other medications or food that can happen with some oral medications. This is really important if you have multiple health conditions or are taking several medications at once. Inhaled medications help you avoid these problems and can help you better manage your respiratory symptoms.

They are commonly administered using user-friendly devices such as metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) or dry powder inhalers (DPIs). The devices are portable, compact, and easy-to-use.

By delivering medication directly to the lungs, reducing the risk of side effects and being easy easy and convenient to use, inhaled medications have transformed respiratory care.

Benefit 2: Reduced Side Effects

Inhaled medications have several advantages over oral or intravenous (injected into a vein) medications, especially the reduced potential for side effects. The direct delivery of medication to the lungs reduces the amount of the drug that enters the bloodstream.

For example, inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), commonly prescribed for asthma and COPD, have a lower risk of side effects when compared to oral corticosteroids, such as weight gain, bone loss, and high blood sugar levels.

Patients with a history of heart disease or diabetes may have an increased risk of side effects from oral corticosteroids. Inhaled medications can benefit those who have difficulty swallowing or experience gastrointestinal side effects with oral medications.

Lastly, the reduced risk of side effects with inhaled medications makes it easier for you follow your prescribed treatment plan. When you experience fewer side effects, you are more likely to take your medications as prescribed.

Benefit 3: Better Breathing Control

Inhaled medications can significantly improve breathing control for individuals with COPD and asthma. These medications work by relaxing the muscles around the airways, which allows the airways to open up and improve airflow.

By reducing airway resistance, inhaled medications make it easier for you to breathe and can reduce the severity of a sudden worsening of symptoms in asthma and COPD.

For those with COPD, inhaled medications can improve lung function and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, and coughing. They can help slow the progression of the disease and decrease your risk of hospitalization

Inhaled medications may improve exercise tolerance, energy levels, and sleep quality, and reduce the risk of other respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

For those with asthma, inhaled medications can help manage symptoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing and experience improved lung function.

Benefit 4: Versatility and Wide Range of Medications

Inhaled medications for asthma and COPD are versatile, offer a wide range of medications, help with accurate doses and are convenient to use.

There are several types of inhaled medications, each designed to address specific symptoms and conditions. For example, bronchodilators work to relax the muscles of the airways, improving airflow, while inhaled corticosteroids reduce lung inflammation.

Inhaled medications are available in different forms, such as metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), and dry powder inhalers (DPIs), depending on your needs and preferences.

Inhaled medications also ensure that the correct amount of medication is delivered directly to your lungs. The devices used for inhaled medications are made to deliver a specific, pre-measured dose with each use. This is very important to treat and manage asthma and COPD symptoms.

Making the Most of Inhaled Medications

To make the most of your inhaled medications, you must take them as prescribed and with the proper technique. Here are some important tips to help you:

1. Follow the prescribed dosage: Take your medications exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not skip doses or stop taking your medications unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

2. Use a spacer device: A spacer device is a helpful tool that can enhance the delivery of inhaled medications to your lungs. It reduces the risk of the medication being deposited in your mouth or throat.

3. Rinse your mouth after use: After using your inhaled medication, rinse your mouth with water to remove any left over medication that may still be in your mouth. This helps prevent oral side effects such as thrush, a fungal infection that can develop in the mouth.

4. Store your medications properly: Keep your inhaled medications in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Improper storage can affect the delivered doses and effectiveness of the medication.

5. Carry your rescue inhaler with you at all times: If you have a rescue inhaler for asthma or COPD, make sure it is always within reach. If you experience a sudden unexpected worsening of your symptoms, you must take your rescue inhaler immediately.

Regular monitoring and follow-ups with your healthcare provider are important to make sure your medications are working well for you and helping you to manage your condition. Your doctor may adjust your medications based on your response and progress.


Inhaled medications are one of the most important components we have in the treating COPD and asthma. For a long time, doctors have relied on inhaled medications to help treat these respiratory conditions.

Research is ongoing to develop new and more effective inhaled medications, as well as to improve the delivery systems (devices) for these medications. This will ensure that patients with COPD and asthma continue to have access to the best possible care.

Course: Proper Use of Inhaled Medication (Asthma and COPD)

If you are a healthcare professional looking to enhance your knowledge and skills in managing respiratory conditions, we recommend our updated course “Proper Use of Inhaled Medication (Asthma and COPD)

This course is designed to provide you with the latest knowledge and best practices in the administration, management, and education of inhaled therapies. Engage with expert-led modules that offer a blend of evidence-based learning and practical application.

Join a community of your peers committed to excellence in healthcare and take the next step in advancing your professional skills.

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