Pocket-Sized Asthma Inhaler Under Development

FEBRUARY 28, 2016
Imagine if your metered-dose inhaler (MDI) could fit into your wallet. Although this may sound farfetched, one company is looking to make it possible.
 
The health care industry is seeing rapid changes in how medications are delivered. The topic of oral and inhaled insulin products has garnered much attention in the media, and many companies are revisiting the design of drug products to turn a new profit.
 
One example of this is Sanofi’s Auvi-Q, which is essentially a re-envisioning of the EpiPen as a pocket-sized delivery device. Taking such a redesign into consideration, it should come as no surprise that one company is looking to make the metered-dose inhaler pocket-sized, as well.

Bloom is an ultra-thin, credit card-sized asthma inhaler that is purported to store up to 6 doses of medication. The device uses an open mouth technique because it lacks a mouthpiece, though it claims to be equally effective to mouthpiece inhalers. 
 
This pocket-sized inhaler may encourage patients to always keep their asthma medication on hand for when they need it. The device will be seeking FDA approval with an aim to receive clearance by November 2016, according to the manufacturer.

At this time, I like the idea behind Bloom, but I still have many questions about the product. How long can the medication be safely stored inside? How can patients ensure that the right dose is dispensed? Which patient populations may benefit from this device the most?

Pocket-sized medication delivery devices are not without risk, as seen with the Auvi-Q recall last October and the more recent news that Sanofi will end its licensing deal with Auvi-Q developer Kaleo, though it claims that the recall isn’t the reason.
 
Where Auvi-Q will go from here is questionable, but it remains an example of rethinking tried-and-true drug designs.


Timothy Aungst, PharmD
Timothy Dy Aungst, PharmD, is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.
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