Inhaler technique: does age matter? A systematic review

Sarah Barbara, Vicky Kritikos, Sinthia B. Anticevich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Poor inhaler technique and inferior asthma outcomes are evident in older adults. Reviews comparing metered dose inhaler (MDI) and dry powder inhaler (DPI) techniques across older adults and younger cohorts are scarce. This systematic review aimed to determine whether differences exist between such cohorts with regards to the number and type of MDI and DPI errors made. A systematic literature search was conducted in Embase, Medline and PubMed from July 1 to December 31, 2016. Studies were selected in accordance with preset inclusion criteria, relevant data were extracted, and quality was assessed with validated checklists. 14 studies were identified. Evidence suggests a negative correlation between advancing age and correct technique across MDI and varying DPI devices when examined collectively. Differences appear to exist between older adult and younger cohorts prescribed MDIs in error types. There is evidence of age-associated differences in the number and type of inhaler technique errors. Further research is required to assess outcomes in individual DPIs, reproducibility and the effects of confounders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number170055
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Respiratory Review
Issue number146
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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