This article is from the Asthma FAQ, by Patricia Wrean and Marie Goldenberg email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
MDI - metered-dose inhaler, consisting of an aerosol unit
and plastic mouthpiece. This is currently the most
common type of inhaler, and is widely available.
autohaler - MDI made by 3M which is activated by one's breath,
and doesn't need the breath-hand coordination that
a regular MDI does. Available in U.S., UK, and NZ.
integra - MDI with compact spacer device. Available in UK.
respihaler - aerosol inhaler for Decadron. I have no idea how
this differs from the usual MDI. Available in the
syncroner - MDI with elongated mouthpiece, used as training device
to see if medication is being inhaled properly.
Available in Canada and UK.
dry powder inhalers:
accuhaler - dry powder inhaler for use with Serevent. It contains
a foil strip with 60 blisters, each containing one dose
of the drug. Pressing the lever punctures the blister,
allowing the drug to be inhaled through the mouthpiece.
Available in the UK.
diskhaler - dry powder inhaler. The drug is kept in a series of
little pouches on a disk; the diskhaler punctures
the pouch and drug is inhaled through the mouthpiece.
Currently available in Canada, South Africa, and UK,
not in U.S.
insufflator - dry powder nasal inhaler used with Rynacrom
cartridges. Each cartridge contains one dose;
the inhaler opens the cartridge, allowing the
powder to be blown into the nose by squeezing
the bulb. Available in Canada.
rotahaler - dry powder inhaler used with Rotacaps capsules.
Each capsule contains one dose; the inhaler opens
the capsule such that the powder may be inhaled
through the mouthpiece. Available in the U.S.,
Canada, and UK for Ventolin. In Canada, Beclovent
Rotacaps are also available, as are Becotide
Rotacaps in the UK.
spinhaler - dry powder inhaler used with Intal capsules for
spinhaler. Each capsule contains one dose; the
inhaler opens the capsule such that the powder
may be inhaled through the mouthpiece. Available
in Canada, UK, and the Netherlands. No longer
manufactured in the U.S.
turbuhaler - dry powder inhaler. The drug is in form of a pellet;
when body of inhaler is rotated, prescribed amount of
drug is ground off this pellet. The powder is then
inhaled through a fluted aperture on top. Available
in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, and
the UK (spelled 'turbohaler' in the UK).