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Identifying empty salbutamol inhalers by weighing the canister
  1. Prasad Nagakumar,
  2. Teresa Evans,
  3. Susan Frost
  1. Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Birmingham Women’s and Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Prasad Nagakumar, Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, B4 6NH, UK; p.nagakumar{at}

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Metered dose inhalers (MDIs), due to their reliability and ease of delivery of medications, have been commonly used in the treatment of asthma. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standards (2018) recommend assessment of adherence, medication review and inhaler technique at every asthma review. The MDIs contain a propellant along with an active drug to expel the labelled number of actuations. This design feature makes it difficult for patients to identify when their inhaler is empty. Studies have shown that up to 86 actuations can be done just with the inhaler propellant after all the medication has been used up. We have previously shown that parents/patients are unable to identify when the inhaler is empty.1

Many preventer inhalers have a dose counter which helps patients in identifying the number of actuations remaining. The …

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  • X @prasadnagakumar

  • Contributors PN, SF and TE designed and analysed the data. PN and SF wrote the first draft. All authors have contributed to the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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