Many different inhalation devices are now available for the treatment of asthma. Pressures towards the elimination of chlorofluorocarbon propellants are driving forward development of new devices-as are obvious commercial pressures, including the increased availability of generic formulations. We still, however, often cannot tell exactly where within the lung we want to target a particular medication, be it a bronchodilator or a steroid. The basic processes of aerosol deposition are readily comprehensible. Nevertheless, even under carefully supervised inhalation conditions, one can only roughly estimate where the medication is deposited. We can, however, hope to give our patients good guidance on how to make the best use of a metered-dose inhaler or a jet nebuliser. From the array of available devices, we will increasingly be able to select the most comfortable and convenient for the patient-and therefore most likely to encourage good compliance.
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