Living with Asthma or COPD? Easy-to-Use Inhalers are a Priority

By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – People living with asthma or COPD are often prescribed medications delivered with a device called an inhaler as part of their treatment. Some of the most common types are called dry powder inhalers and pressurized metered dose inhalers. So what are the key features patients and doctors are looking for in these devices? This question lies at the heart of a recent study published in the International Journal of COPD.

According to the study researchers, the most important feature of an inhaler from a patient’s perspective is how easy it is to use. Physicians also place importance on ease of use, especially when choosing devices for older patients and those with more severe respiratory diseases. According to the study, the choice of inhaler has an important bearing on the outcome of the treatment. This is because poor inhaler technique has a series of negative consequences: not all the drug is delivered to the patient, there are more adverse events, patients stray from their dosing schedule and their disease is not controlled as well.

“Patients who are prescribed pulmonary delivery systems sometimes believe they know how to use their devices correctly at the outset, but in reality may actually be misusing them—which can result in less drug being inhaled,” says Joe Reynolds, Research Manager at Noble®, which develops injection and inhaler training products as part of patient and healthcare provider education materials for pharmaceutical companies. “This is one reason why realistic training devices are adopted by drug manufacturers and used by healthcare practitioners to train patients. It is vital that the patient learns how to use their device properly to ensure that they get their entire dose.”

Trainers feature meticulously engineered technologies to give patients cues about whether the device is being used properly. Trainers can also be configured to work with smart devices to provide additional feedback and instruction.

“Patients who have been prescribed an inhaler probably prefer a device that is easy to use. A well-designed trainer can help ensure that the actual device is being administered correctly and gives the patient incentive to keep on their treatment schedule,” Reynolds adds.

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