Dose Counters for MDI Inhalers

The MDI Inhaler has had a major disadvantage over other dosage forms until recently, as they offered no convenient way for patients to track the number of doses remaining in the canister at any given time. (click to enlarge image)

Learn about Dose Counters for MDI Inhalers

There are three (3) types of device technology used to deliver drugs to the lungs: (pressurized) Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI), Dry Powder Inhalers (DPI), and Nebulizers.

PuffMinder® Timers, Counters & Reminders for Inhalation Medications - Asthma / COPD - delivered by MDI or DPI (Inhaler / Puffer):

Inhaled drugs are most widely used for local treatment of the respiratory tract, such as asthma and COPD, for both prevention and relief of symptoms.

The administration of drugs to the lung is considered the preferred route of delivery for a range of drug compounds for both local and systemic treatment. This is because the lungs provide a large surface area for deposition and drug absorption as well as a rapid onset of action. Moreover, pulmonary delivery allows the administration of small, clinically effective drug doses, causing less systemic side effects. This route is also considered a non-invasive treatment when compared to injectable, and it is well tolerated and accepted by most patients, thus increasing patient compliance.

Commonly used inhaled drugs for local treatment via MDI / PDI / Nebulizer:

  • B2-agonists, such as salbutamol, formoterol, and salmeterol
  • Corticosteroids; such as beclomethasone, fluticasone, and budesonide
  • Combination products; such as salmeterol/fluticasone, and formoterol/budesonide
  • Anticholinergics; such as ipratropium and tiotropium

    The MDI inhalers have been available for nearly 50 years and have come to be regarded as the most popular and preferred form of delivery for treatment of asthma and COPD, with nearly 500 million devices manufactured worldwide each year. MDIs offer a unique combination of reliability, accurate dosing, convenience, and low cost for delivering drugs to the lungs.


  • PuffMinder DOSE-DIAL: Patients keep track by recording each dose taken then subtracting the total from the labelled number of doses. BUY / Learn about PuffMinder DOSE-DIAL

  • Float-test (immersion of canister in water): Unreliable method often leading to patients throwing away an Inhaler (MDI) still containing an acceptable number of doses or using a product beyond the recommended number of doses (may be dangerous as patients could be inhaling subtherapeutic doses).

  • Built-in Dose Counter: Newer inhalers (recent FDA approved inhaled drugs by MDI or DPI) have a built-in dose counter showing remaining doses left in the inhaler.

  • Scale: Universal dose counter for metered dose inhalers. PulmoScale utilizes the weight of an inhaler's contents to accurately determine the number of doses remaining in the MDI Inhaler.

  • PuffMinder DOSER: Patients apply this electronic device to the MDI Inhaler. PuffMinder DOSER shows remaining doses in MDI inhaler, gives a low warning (less than 20 doses left in inhaler) and keeps a history log (number of doses = inhalations per day for last thirty (30) days). BUY / Learn about PuffMinder DOSER

    Recent survey of adult asthmatics (Dr. Bradley E. Chipps, Capital Allergy and Respiratory Disease Center in Sacramento, CA) showed that
  • 62% of patients had no idea they were supposed to keep track of their MDI doses
  • 24% of patients knew exactly what was left in their MDI
  • 25% of patients found their MDI empty when they needed it
  • ... and 8% of those people ended up calling 911 emergency for help.

    Learn More: How does PuffMinder DOSER work? Download PDF | Inhaler Counters
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