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New Inhaler is Child's Play

A new inhaler with a child-friendly design aims to solve the problem of dosage variance and patient compliance – key issues with inhaled drug treatments for children.//

The new Watchhaler product from Activaero uses novel design features and has been designed to appeal to kids, with vivid colours and an ‘animal-like shape'.

The new product is used in combination with conventional metered dose inhalation devices (MDIs), and addresses several concerns associated with traditional spacer inhalation devices. Spacers are large chambers that are fitted to an inhaler, and the dose is then breathed in from the spacer though a mouthpiece or mask.

One major issue the developers hoped to overcome was the fact that there is high variability in the mass of the drug that is actually delivered to a patient's lungs when using inhalation devices. This is not solely down to the design of the device itself, but also individual patients' compliance with labelled instructions.

”Especially for pressurised metered dose inhalation devices it has been shown that in adults, only 25 per cent of patients were able to perform inhalation with an MDI correctly,” say the company.

”In children it is even worse and lung deposition is less than 5 per cent.”

In order to combat this dosage variance, Activaero, in collaboration with UK plastics manufacturer RPC Formatec, has developed a device that incorporates a silicone balloon within a transparent plastic chamber, which is used as a reservoir for the aerosolised drug.

An MDI device is used to fill the balloon through the mouthpiece, the volume of the balloon limiting the inhalation volume. A patented mechanical valve at the air inlet on the other side of the mouthpiece reduces the inhalation flow rate (limiting it to 150ml/s), allowing slow, controlled delivery of the therapeutic aerosol.

As the drug is inhaled, the silicone balloon deflates, foldi
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