The vast majority of clinicians in Europe now prescribe beta-2 agonists as first-line therapy for patients with asthma. Inhaler devices may deliver rapidly acting (beta-2 sympathomimetics) and more slowly acting (anticholinergic) bronchodilator therapy as well as prophylactic medication (sodium cromoglycate and topical corticosteroids). The metered dose inhaler (MDI) is most often prescribed, but at least 50% of patients cannot use this device efficiently and 10-15% of those who can, develop an inefficient technique. The vast majority of those patients are able to use a single-dose dry power inhaler. Recent studies have shown that a multidose dry power system can be used by most patients and is preferred to the MDI by over two-thirds of patient. The large volume spacer systems have been shown to be as good as the MDI and nebulizer systems in the management of asthma, and they are easier to use than the MDI. Nebulisers are of value in chronic asthma in children who cannot use other delivery systems. The role of nebulisers for the domiciliary treatment of asthma in adults, however, remains controversial.