This article is from the Asthma FAQ, by Patricia Wrean and Marie Goldenberg firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
[Maintainer's note: the Rotahaler is a dry powder inhaler
for Ventolin (albuterol), manufactured by Allen & Hanburys,
while the Spinhaler is a dry powder inhaler for Intal
(cromolyn sodium), manufactured by Fisons Corporation. ]
The Rotahaler and the Spinhaler are very different animals.
The Rotahaler is a pussycat, the Spinhaler a ferocious lion.
The Rotahaler is a two-part mouthpiece that you snap apart,
put a capsule in, twist, and inhale. When you twist the device,
the capsule breaks open. When you inhale, the medicine lands
in your lungs.
The Spinhaler is a three-piece device: a mouthpiece, a tiny
fan, and a cap to cover the fan. You open it, put the capsule
in a space on the fan, close it, push down then up on the cap
(this breaks the capsule) and then tilt your head back, put
the mouthpiece in your mouth, and inhale. The fan throws the
medicine into the back of your throat. Then you gag.
I don't like the propellants in MDIs, so I was highly motivated
to get a Spinhaler. It took me a month to get my drugstore to
find it, and now I must admit I'm disappointed. I tried using
an Intal capsule in the Ventolin Rotahaler, since that device
works so well, but the medicine seems to be of the wrong
consistency, and the capsule is too large for the space it
should go into.
Another difference: The Spinhaler comes in a little container
like a medicine bottle, but the lid doesn't stay on very well in
a purse. The Rotahaler comes in a little plastic case sort of
like a compact and stays shut (i.e. clean) in a purse, backpack,
or jeans pocket.
Contributed by: Paula Ford email@example.com