There are two types of bronchodilator inhalers: short-acting inhalers and long-acting inhalers, notes WebMD. Common short-acting inhalers include pirbuterol, metaproterenol, albuterol and levalbuterol. Long-acting inhalers include Advair, Severent, Foradil and Perforomist.
Bronchodilator inhalers are used by asthma patients to open the airway passages, according to WebMD. Patients use short-acting inhalers for quick relief while long-acting inhalers are for daily use to control asthma. Short-acting inhalers are helpful during exercise to prevent exercise-induced asthma. The action of the inhaled bronchodilators lasts for 2 to 4 hours. Long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators increase the chances of dying from cancer. They should only be used by patients as a doctor prescribed treatment.