Nebulizers are small devices sometimes used to deliver medications directly into the lungs in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Nebulizers can be used with a wide variety of medications, including bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.
A nebulizer consists of a machine that generates mist, a cup for holding liquid medicine, and a mouthpiece through which the medicine is breathed. Some nebulizers may have a hose through which the medicine and mist are conveyed to the mouthpiece.
There are two main types of nebulizers. Most nebulizers utilize air compressors to create the mist that delivers the medication. Ultrasonic nebulizers are quieter, but more expensive. They use sound vibrations to create mist.
Most people with COPD do not require a nebulizer. However, in more severe cases of COPD, it may be beneficial to receive medicine via nebulizer. Nebulizers are also the preferred method of delivery for very young or very old people, or for anyone who may have trouble using an inhaler.
What does it involve?
Nebulizers are easy to use. When it is time to take your medicine, make sure your nebulizer is assembled correctly. Measure the dose into the cup and close it tightly. Turn on the nebulizer machine. Close your lips firmly around the mouthpiece. Remain seated, relax, and breathe slowly and deeply through your mouth until the medicine cup is empty. It usually takes 10 to 20 minutes to receive a dose of medicine via a nebulizer.
Nebulizers need to be cleaned properly in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Rinse your nebulizer with water after each use, clean it daily with soap, and soak it weekly in a vinegar solution. Using a soiled nebulizer may promote respiratory infection.
Using a nebulizer ensures that the full measure of the medication is delivered deeply into your lungs for maximum effectiveness. No medication is wasted.
Nebulizers are easier to use than inhalers, and people are more likely to take their medicine regularly and correctly if it is simpler to take.
An article published in 2007 described a clinical trial comparing medication with Albuterol and Ipratropium bromide by various routes. A total of 126 participants with COPD who were 50 years or older received treatments with these drugs either via nebulizer, inhaler, or both concomitantly. Both groups using the nebulizer reported more improvement at six weeks and 12 weeks than those using the inhaler alone. However, of the three groups, those using the nebulizer in the morning and evening and the inhaler mid-day showed the greatest statistical improvement at the end of the study.
A study published in 2004 compared the effects of Salbutamol (also known as Albuterol) received by either nebulizer or inhaler. There were 24 participants with a mean age of 72. Researchers found that those who received Albuterol through the nebulizer were significantly less out of breath after five minutes of treatment than those who received it via inhaler. However, after 45 minutes, there was no significant difference in one group’s improvement over the other.
Nebulizers are available only by prescription.
Nebulizers may be problematic to carry and use outside the home. Most people use inhalers while out of the house.
Nebulizers must either be powered by an electrical outlet or batteries in order to function.
It requires more time to take medicine through a nebulizer than it does to swallow oral doses or use an inhaler.
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