WO2009029028A1 - Breath- triggered inhaler with dose counter - Google Patents

Breath- triggered inhaler with dose counter

Info

Publication number
WO2009029028A1
WO2009029028A1 PCT/SE2008/050947 SE2008050947W WO2009029028A1 WO 2009029028 A1 WO2009029028 A1 WO 2009029028A1 SE 2008050947 W SE2008050947 W SE 2008050947W WO 2009029028 A1 WO2009029028 A1 WO 2009029028A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
substance
member
transfer
chamber
inhaler
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/SE2008/050947
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Nicholas John Bowman
David Robert Gale
Laurence Stanmore Huxham
Original Assignee
Astrazeneca Ab
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0091Inhalators mechanically breath-triggered
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0001Details of inhalators; Constructional features thereof
    • A61M15/0013Details of inhalators; Constructional features thereof with inhalation check valves
    • A61M15/0015Details of inhalators; Constructional features thereof with inhalation check valves located upstream of the dispenser, i.e. not traversed by the product
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0001Details of inhalators; Constructional features thereof
    • A61M15/0021Mouthpieces therefor
    • A61M15/0025Mouthpieces therefor with caps
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0065Inhalators with dosage or measuring devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0065Inhalators with dosage or measuring devices
    • A61M15/0066Inhalators with dosage or measuring devices with means for varying the dose size
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0065Inhalators with dosage or measuring devices
    • A61M15/0068Indicating or counting the number of dispensed doses or of remaining doses
    • A61M15/007Mechanical counters
    • A61M15/0071Mechanical counters having a display or indicator
    • A61M15/0076Mechanical counters having a display or indicator on a drum
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0091Inhalators mechanically breath-triggered
    • A61M15/0093Inhalators mechanically breath-triggered without arming or cocking, e.g. acting directly on the delivery valve
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/0091Inhalators mechanically breath-triggered
    • A61M15/0096Hindering inhalation before activation of the dispenser
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M11/00Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes
    • A61M11/02Sprayers or atomisers specially adapted for therapeutic purposes operated by air or other gas pressure applied to the liquid or other product to be sprayed or atomised
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M15/00Inhalators
    • A61M15/08Inhaling devices inserted into the nose
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2202/00Special media to be introduced, removed or treated
    • A61M2202/06Solids
    • A61M2202/064Powder
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
    • A61M2205/00General characteristics of the apparatus
    • A61M2205/07General characteristics of the apparatus having air pumping means
    • A61M2205/071General characteristics of the apparatus having air pumping means hand operated
    • A61M2205/073Syringe, piston type

Abstract

The invention relates to an inhaler for powdered substance. The inhaler comprises a transfer member which is displaceable in a substance storing chamber and which comprises at least one dosing chamber for taking up substance from the substance storing chamber and moving it to a flow passage. The transfer member, during its displacement, engages with a dose counter for advancing the number count. The dosing chamber is evacuated by an overpressure in the flow passage.

Description

Breath-triggered inhaler with dose counter

Technical field

The present invention relates to an inhaler for powdered substance, from which substance is inhalable by a user.

Background of the Invention

There are different types of inhalers on the market. A pressurized Metered Dose Inhaler (pMDI) releases a fixed dose of substance in aerosol form. A powder inhaler generally releases a dose of powdered substance entrained in an air stream. International patent applications PCT/EP2007/052172 and PCT/EP/2007/052178 (AstraZeneca AB) illustrate examples of powder inhalers. Both types of inhalers can be provided with a dose counter for indicating to a user how many doses have been or remain to be dispensed from the inhaler.

An example of a powder inhaler is disclosed in Fig. 4 of WO 92/18188. In that inhaler, powdered medicament is provided in a container. A shaft is provided with a recess for receiving a dose of medicament from the container. By pressing a button, the shaft with the recess can be displaced out of the container and into an inhalation conduit. A user can then inhale the medicament through a mouthpiece which is connected to the inhalation conduit. An end of the shaft leans against a socket tensioned by a spring. When the button is pressed, the shaft will move the socket towards a contact connected to a digital dose counter for incrementing the dose count. When the button is released the spring returns the shaft to its original position placing the recess inside the container. Thus, if the user presses the button so that the recess becomes displaced to the inhalation conduit and the dose count is incremented, and then for some reason does not inhale the medicament but instead releases the button so that the medicament in the recess is returned to the container, there will be a discrepancy between the indicated dose count and the actual number of doses dispensed/remaining.

US 6,769,601 discloses another powder inhaler comprising a medicament container and a rotatable metering drum which has dosing recesses for receiving the powdered medicament from the container. The metering drum can be rotated to provide the recess at the level of an air channel for discharging the medicament from the recess to the air channel upon inhalation. The metering drum is connected to a dose counter. However, a user could effect subsequent rotations of the metering drum without inhaling the medicament, whereby the dose count would be incremented and would thus not reflect the real number of discharged/remaining doses.

Thus, both of the above examples allow the dose counter to increment its count regardless of whether or not a dose has actually been discharged.

Summary of the Invention The present invention is based on the insight that, by providing an automatic discharge of a dose when placed in a flow passage for delivery of the dose out from the inhaler, the actual number of doses that has been (or remains to be) discharged from the inhaler can be correctly reflected by the number of doses indicated by a dose counter. Thus, by providing an automatic discharge, the correctness of the counting will be independent of a user inhaling or not, whereby the above-discussed possible dependency in the prior art inhalers is avoided. The present invention provides an active discharge while said prior art inhalers provide a passive discharge which is dependent on the inhalation by a user.

According to at least one aspect of the invention, an inhaler for powdered substance is provided, such as a pharmaceutical substance or a plurality of pharmaceutical substances which are provided separately or in mixture. The inhaler comprises a flow passage for guiding substance towards an outlet, such as an inhalation interface in the form of a mouthpiece or nasal adaptor. The inhaler further comprises a substance storing chamber for holding the substance. A dose counter is provided for counting the number of doses of powdered substance that has been or remains to be discharged. A transfer member is displaceable in the substance storing chamber and comprises at least one dosing chamber for taking up substance inside the substance storing chamber. The transfer member is displaceable between a substance-keeping position, in which the dosing chamber keeps the substance, and a substance-evacuating position, in which the dosing chamber presents the substance to the flow passage. The transfer member, during its movement towards the substance-evacuating position, engages with the dose counter for advancing the number count, and when the transfer member is in said substance-evacuating position, the dosing chamber is evacuated by an overpressure in the flow passage. Thus, once the powdered substance is presented to the flow passage, the present inhaler, contrary to the prior art inhalers, does not allow substance to be withdrawn from the flow passage.

Suitably, air may be used for creating the overpressure so that an airflow will evacuate the dosing chamber. However, the general inventive concept is also conceivable using alternative propellants, such as another gas, e.g. a HFA (Hydro Fluoro Alkane) or a CFC (Chloro Fluoro Carbon). In order to avoid counting a dose which was never presented to the flow passage, the components of the device may suitably be arranged in such manner that the engagement between the transfer member and the dose counter is adapted to advance the number count only if the transfer member reaches the substance-evacuating position. This may for example be achieved by appropriately arranging the locations of the dose counter, dosing chamber and the flow passage, and providing an appropriate displacement path of the transfer member, etc.

It should be understood that the term "advance" with reference to the number count of the dose counter is neither limited to increasing nor decreasing numbers, but rather encompasses both possibilities and merely refers to an update of the number count. Thus, depending on which information is chosen to be indicated to a user, the dose counter may either be arranged to increment the count for indicating the number of doses that has been discharged or to decrement the count for indicating the number of doses that remains to be discharged.

Suitably, the transfer member just temporarily engages the dose counter when displaced from the substance-keeping position to the substance-evacuating position. Thus, according to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the dose counter comprises an engagement surface which is located in the displacement path of an engagement surface of the transfer member, whereby said engagement surfaces become engaged with each other during displacement of the transfer member from the substance-keeping position to the substance-evacuating position. However, as an alternative to the example embodiment, the transfer member could be in permanently touching contact with the dose counter.

The dose counter could be mechanical or electrical and various known dose counters may be incorporated in an inhaler according to the present invention, as long as they allow for engagement with a transfer member which displaces a dosing chamber to a flow passage, wherein the dosing chamber is automatically evacuated. For instance, according to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the dose counter comprises a step-by-step mechanism, such as a ratchet wheel operatively connected to an indicator which indicates the current number count. In such case the transfer member would be engagable with the ratchet wheel for advancing the number count.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention the inhaler comprises an actuator which, when actuated, is adapted to create an overpressure in a pressurizable space which comprises or which is arrangable in fluid communication with the flow passage for discharging the substance from the dosing chamber when the transfer member is in the substance-evacuating position.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the inhaler comprises an inhaler housing, wherein the actuator comprises an action button protruding from the inhaler housing. The action button may be displaceable against a return spring, wherein the overpressure in the pressurizable space is established when the action button is displaced in the inhaler housing, which overpressure, through the displacement of the transfer member, is used in the flow passage for the discharge of substance. The action button may be manually depressible. After depression, the action button may be latched at least until the user inhales, the action button may then become automatically or manually unlatched and return to its starting position, enabling other components to return to their respective starting position as well.

The pressurizable space, including the flow passage, may be closed in various ways for maintaining the overpressure. For instance, a valve may be provided. Suitably, the actual transfer member may act as or be part of a closure. Thus, according to at least one example embodiment of the invention, said transfer member in its substance-keeping position extends through the flow passage to close said pressurizable space and to substantially maintain the overpressure until the transfer member is displaced to the substance-evacuating position for presenting the dosing chamber to the flow passage and the overpressure. The release of the overpressure causes a stream of the propellant (e.g. air, HFA or CFC) to entrain the substance and deliver it to a mouthpiece or nasal adaptor. Suitably, in the substance-evacuating position of the transfer member, the dosing chamber will be located within the flow passage so as to form part of the flow path. This may be arranged in various ways, one of which being designing the dosing chamber as a cross hole through the transfer member so that the propellant stream will be led through the transfer member to entrain the substance. Optionally, it would be conceivable to latch the transfer member in the substance-keeping position by means of an inhalation- triggered release mechanism, which upon inhalation by a user releases the transfer member and allows it to move to the substance-evacuating position.

According to at least another example embodiment of the invention, said pressurizable space does not comprise the flow passage but is instead arrangable in fluid communication with the flow passage. The overpressure may be released by a release mechanism so that the fluid communication between the pressurizable space and the flow passage becomes open. This may suitably be accomplished by a valve between the flow passage and the pressurizable space, the valve being movable between a closed position for closing said pressurizable space and an open position for releasing the overpressure in the pressurizable space. The valve may be latched in the closed position by an inhalation- triggered release mechanism which, when a user inhales through a mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, unlatches the valve, thereby enabling the overpressure to be released and evacuate the substance from the dosing chamber. In case an optional inhalation triggered-release mechanism is provided also for the transfer member, as described above, the valve could either have a release mechanism which is triggered separately from the release mechanism for unlatching the transfer member or, alternatively, the inhaler may suitably use one and the same triggering for opening the valve to release the overpressure and unlatching the transfer member. A common triggering may facilitate the timing for entraining the substance into the flow caused by the released overpressure. In any example embodiment implementing an inhalation-triggered release mechanism, the inhalation effort required by the user for triggering the release mechanism may be chosen depending on e.g. age of user and type of therapy. The inspiratory flow threshold to be overcome may be chosen by appropriate design of e.g. inertia and resistive force acting upon the release mechanism.

The inhaler may have several suitable locations for arranging the inhalation- triggered release mechanism. The valve and/or the transfer member could be latched in various ways, e.g. having protrusions or indentations mating with complementary features of the release mechanism. Another example could be that the release mechanism comprises a gripping means which may be closed and open for latching and releasing the transfer member or the valve. Yet another example could be that the release mechanism simply stands in the way of the transfer member or valve, preventing it from further displacement until the release mechanism is out of the way.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the substance storing chamber is located on one side of the flow passage and the release mechanism is located on the other side of the flow passage, wherein the transfer member extends through the flow passage.

For the case in which the transfer member extends through the flow passage, the release mechanism may suitably comprise an abutment surface for receiving one end of the transfer member and latching the transfer member in the substance-keeping position. Although the abutment surface may simply be a surface which stands in the way of the travel direction of the transfer member and suitably mating with an end portion of the transfer member, the abutment surface could alternatively engage with other portions and features of the transfer member as mentioned previously. According to at least another example embodiment of the invention, the substance storing chamber is located on one side of the flow passage and the dose counter is located on the other side of the flow passage, wherein the transfer member extends through the flow passage.

The above may suitably be combined in an example embodiment wherein both the release mechanism and the dose counter are located on the same side of the flow passage. Suitably, the displacement of the transfer member from the substance-keeping position to the substance-evacuating position describes a linear motion, that is, moves in a straight direction.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the release mechanism comprises a movable member being movable from a relaxed position, in which the release mechanism is kept in a latching state, to an energized position in which the release mechanism is caused to be displaced to a releasing state, wherein a first side of the movable member partly defines a first volume which is in fluid communication with the mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, wherein, when a user inhales through said mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, an underpressure is established in said first volume causing the movable member to move from the relaxed position to the energized position. Optionally, the release mechanism may comprise a return spring for urging the release mechanism to the latching state. Such a return spring may be provided in various configurations. One example is a leaf spring, another example is a coil spring. In the case of the release mechanism having a return spring or the like, the energizing force on the movable member will work against the force of the return spring. Thus, the design of the return spring and the movable member should be suitably balanced so that when a user inhales above a certain airflow threshold, the force of the return spring is overcome by the movable member and causes the release mechanism to unlatch the transfer member. Instead of having a spring for urging the release mechanism to the latching state, other means for returning the release mechanism may be provided. For instance, various types of elastic bodies, hydraulic means or pneumatic means are conceivable alternatives, or some other components that can at least temporarily store energy developed when the release mechanism moves from the latching state to the releasing state. Furthermore, another alternative would be to manually affect the release mechanism to return to its latching state.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the movable member is a diaphragm which is flexed to the energized position upon inhalation by a user. Suitably, the release mechanism comprises a pivotable rocker having an abutment surface for latching the transfer member, wherein the diaphragm is operatively connected to the rocker so that, when the diaphragm is flexed, the rocker is pivoted to said releasing state of the release mechanism.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, said movable member is a flap which is pivoted to the energized position upon inhalation by a user. According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, a second side of the movable member, opposite to said first side, partly defines a second volume which is in fluid communication with the atmosphere surrounding the inhaler. When the movable member is moved in response to the underpressure in the first volume, air will be allowed to flow into the second volume on the other side of the movable member, thereby keeping the second volume at atmospheric pressure even if the second volume is increased upon movement of the movable member, thus avoiding counteracting the movement caused by the underpressure in the first volume. The second volume may be small or, alternatively, even infinitesimal if the movable member would form part of the exterior wall portion of the inhaler housing. Although the above-described example embodiments discuss a defined volume in which underpressure is created to cause movement of the movable member, an alternative or a complement would be to provide an extra flow channel through which the inspiratory flow may propagate and impart its kinetic energy to a movable member which causes the release mechanism to be displaced to its releasing state. In example embodiments implementing an inhalation-triggered release mechanism for latching the transfer member, gravitational force could be used for making the transfer member drop to its substance-evacuating position when unlatched by the release mechanism. However, it may be desirable to use some other force which is less dependent of the spatial orientation of the inhaler. Thus, according to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the inhaler comprises a biasing mechanism adapted to bias the transfer member towards the substance-evacuating position. The biasing mechanism could be activated electronically or mechanically. The biasing mechanism could provide the force by a manually maintained pressure, e.g. the user pressing and keeping his/her finger on the biasing mechanism so as to provide the force urging the transfer member to the substance-evacuating position. Rather than keeping a manual pressure, the biasing mechanism may have some kind of latch for maintaining the bias on the transfer member even after the user has let go of the biasing mechanism. The biasing mechanism may suitably comprise a spring acting on the transfer member.

The biased transfer member may be latched in the substance-keeping position by an inhalation-triggered release mechanism until a user inhales through a mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, whereby the release mechanism unlatches the transfer member, thereby enabling it to move to the substance-evacuating position. When the transfer member is latched by the release mechanism in said substance-keeping position and biased towards the substance- evacuating position by the biasing mechanism, the dosing chamber may suitably be located inside the substance storing chamber. Thus, when the inhaler is primed, i.e. in a loaded state ready for inhalation, the substance is kept safely inside the substance storing chamber, or more specifically, the substance is kept inside the dosing chamber which in turn is located inside the substance storing chamber. This arrangement reduces the risk of contamination. Furthermore, the inhaler may be provided with a feature that allows the biasing of the biasing mechanism to be cancelled if a user changes his/her mind and does not want to use the inhaler at present. The substance will then still be kept safe in the substance storing chamber.

Although the above-described example embodiment discusses the dosing chamber being located in the substance storing chamber when the inhaler has been primed, an alternative would be to arrange said substance-keeping position of the transfer member in such way that the dosing chamber is located in an intermediate conduit or the like between the storing chamber and the flow passage, which could still provide a safely shielded location. Thus, the priming could comprise introducing substance into the dosing chamber, displacing the transfer member so that the dosing chamber is moved from the substance storing chamber to said intermediate conduit (the transfer member becomes latched after said displacement) and biasing the transfer member towards the substance-evacuating position. Alternatively, the transfer member may be displaced only a short distance before becoming latched so that the dosing chamber, even though moved, still remains located inside the substance storing chamber. According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the biasing mechanism comprises the previously mentioned actuator for creating the overpressure. A spring is compressible between the actuator and the transfer member, whereby movement of the actuator towards the transfer member, when the transfer member is latched in the substance-keeping position, causes the transfer member to become spring-loaded. Other alternatives to providing a spring between the actuator and the transfer member are conceivable. For instance, there could be provided a hydraulic arrangement, such as comprising a piston movable in a cylinder, for transmitting the biasing force. While a simple linear movement of the actuator towards the transfer member is readily envisaged, there may also be alternatives, such as rotating the actuator (e.g. like a tightening screw).

The actuator has hitherto been described as being used for one or two functions, namely for creating an overpressure in the pressurizable space and, optionally, for urging the transfer member towards the substance-evacuating position. In addition, to these functions, the actuation of the actuator may also be used for promoting substance to enter the dosing chamber. Thus, according to at least on example embodiment of the invention, the actuator, when actuated, causes at least a wall portion of the substance storing chamber to move towards the transfer member so that substance is urged into the dosing chamber. Suitably, the transfer member remains unmovable in the substance-keeping position while substance is urged into the dosing chamber. Although the use of the actual substance storing chamber wall for promoting substance to enter into the dosing chamber may be advantageous, alternative example embodiments could include other promoting means. For instance, the actuator could be connected to one or more pushers inside the substance storing chamber, wherein the substance would be pushed into the dosing chamber upon actuation of the actuator. Although the above-described example embodiments encompass the actuator to be involved in three different functions, an alternative would be to provide two or three separate actuators for said functions.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the substance storing chamber wall, consisting of an elastic material, curves in the direction towards the transfer member when the inhaler is actuated. Suitably, the substance storing chamber wall, at least in the dosing chamber region, curves into contact with the transfer member. Press pieces may be provided for curving of the substance storing chamber wall. The press pieces may be provided with cheeks which have impinging surfaces which, in a fully in- turned position of the press pieces, are positioned parallelly to the broadside wall surfaces of the transfer member, if comprising a flat bar. Suitably, the actuator, or an action button comprised in the actuator, via bevels, pivots the press pieces in the direction towards the transfer member.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the transfer member comprises a rod which is displaceable in its longitudinal (lengthwise) direction. Thus, a dose will be taken up from the substance storing chamber and then, be moved substantially in a straight uncurved direction to the flow passage. The dosing chamber may be incorporated as an integral part of the rod. However, it would also be conceivable to have a separate dosing chamber which is connected to the rod. In either case, the straight movement from the substance storing chamber is achievable.

Although the above-described example embodiment discusses a rod which is displaceable in its longitudinal direction, a rotational displacement or pivoting displacement of the rod would also be conceivable depending on the configuration and placement of the substance storing chamber, the dose counter and the flow passage. Furthermore, instead of or as a complement to a rod, the transfer member may comprise component shapes, such as polygonal or circular. For instance, a rotatable wheel may take up the substance from the storing chamber and then, rotate to present the substance to the flow passage. Thus, it should be understood that the general idea of using an automatic evacuation of the dosing chamber which is comprised in a transfer member that affects a dose counter can be implemented in various configurations.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the transfer member comprises a projection which extends from the rod, wherein the projection is adapted to engage with the dose counter for advancing the number count. The projection may suitably extend from an end portion of the rod, for example perpendicularly from the longitudinal extension of the rod.

According to at least one example embodiment of the invention, the projection is flexible in such manner that, when the transfer member returns from the substance- evacuating position to the substance-keeping position, the projection becomes temporarily bent by the dose counter as it crosses (comes into contact with) the dose counter.

As previously mentioned, the dosing chamber may be designed as a cross hole of the transfer member. Additionally, the transfer member may have several dosing chambers consecutively located at the transfer member, which during a dispensing action are successively presented to the flow passage and are, piece by piece, evacuatable by an overpressure in the flow passage. In the case of the transfer member comprising a rod, the dosing chambers, suitably in the form of cross holes, would be positioned after each other in the travel direction of the rod, i.e. in its longitudinal extension. The rod may have a circular cross section or polygonal cross section. Suitably, a part of the transfer member, or the actual rod itself, is designed as a flat bar. A flat bar may be advantageous if means are provided for urging substance into the dosing chamber, wherein such means would easily land against the flat bar surface.

The inhaler may contain various substances, such as drugs and/or bioactive agents to be inhaled.

The bioactive agent may be selected from any therapeutic or diagnostic agent. For example it may be from the group of antiallergics, bronchodilators, bronchoconsitrictors, pulmonary lung surfactants, analgesics, antibiotics, leukotrine inhibitors or antagonists, anticholinergics, mast cell inhibitors, antihistamines, antiinflammatories, antineoplastics, anaesthetics, anti-tuberculars, imaging agents, cardiovascular agents, enzymes, steroids, genetic material, viral vectors, antisense agents, proteins, peptides and combinations thereof.

Examples of specific drugs which can be incorporated in the inhaler according to the invention include mometasone, ipratropium bromide, tiotropium and salts thereof, salemeterol, fluticasone propionate, beclomethasone dipropionate, reproterol, clenbuterol, rofieponide and salts, nedocromil, sodium cromoglycate, fiunisolide, budesonide, formoterol fumarate dihydrate, Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol), terbutaline, terbutaline sulphate, salbutamol base and sulphate, fenoterol, 3-[2-(4-Hydroxy-2-oxo-3H- l,3-benzothiazol-7-yl)ethylamino]-N-[2-[2-(4- methylphenyl)ethoxy]ethyl]propanesulphonamide, hydrochloride. All of the above compounds can be in free base form or as pharmaceutically acceptable salts as known in the art.

Combinations of medicaments may also be employed, for example formoterol/budesonide; formoterol/fluticasone; formoterol/mometasone; salmeterol/fluticasone; formoterol/tiotropium salts; zafirlukast/formoterol, zafirlukast/budesonide; montelukast/formoterol; montelukast/budesonide; loratadine/montelukast and loratadine/zafirlukast.

Further combinations include tiotropium and fluticasone, tiotropium and budesonide, tiotropium and mometasone, mometasone and salmeterol, formoterol and rofieponide, salmeterol and budesonide, salmeterol and rofleponide, and tiotropium and rofieponide.

Brief description of the drawings

Figs. Ia- Id illustrate the operation of an example embodiment of the invention. Fig. 2 illustrates a selected side view of the transfer member and dose counter when in the position shown in Fig. Ia or Fig. Ib.

Detailed description of the drawings

In order to clarify the description, terms such as "up", "upwardly", "down", "downwardly", "vertical", "horizontal", etc. are sometimes used: these terms are not limiting and serve merely to facilitate understanding of the drawings.

Figs. Ia- Id illustrate the operation of an example embodiment of the invention. Even though the general inventive concept may be used with various propellants, such as HFA and CFC, the illustrated example embodiment operates with air. Beginning with Fig. Ia, a vertical section through an inhaler 2 for powdered substance is illustrated. The inhaler 2 comprises a cylindrical housing 4 from which a substantially radially projecting mouthpiece 6 originates.

The inhaler 2 comprises an actuator in the form of an action button 8 arranged at the top of the housing 4 and an opposite surface 10 at the bottom of the housing 4, a general geometrical housing axis x extending therebetween. By displacement of the action button 8 along the axis x in the direction towards the opposite surface 10, a substance output becomes obtainable.

The housing 4 is formed as a hollow cylindrical body, with a circular horizontal projection in the shown embodiment. Also other shapes, different from this shape with a circular horizontal projection, are conceivable, for example elliptical or multi-cornered/- angled shapes.

The circular-cylindrical external inhaler housing 12 is closed at the base by an inhaler bottom 14, which forms the opposite surface 10 for the actuation of the inhaler 2. At the side opposite to this bottom 14, the housing 4 is openly designed. In the base region of the housing 4, the mouthpiece 6 protrudes therefrom in a substantially radial orientation, more specifically in the shown example embodiment, with the inclusion of an acute angle of about 75 to 80° to the inhaler axis x, which mouthpiece 6 is substantially formed as a hollow cylinder body with an orifice pointing axially outwards with regard to the orientation of the mouthpiece 6. A mouthpiece bottom 16, arranged in the transition region from the housing 4 to the mouthpiece 6, has a central opening 18.

When the inhaler 2 is not in use, the mouthpiece 6 may be covered by a cover, in this example illustrated as a screw cap 20. When the inhaler 2 is to be used, the user removes the screw cap 20.

As an alternative to the illustrated example embodiment, it would be conceivable to provide a nasal adaptor instead of the mouthpiece 6. Suitably, instead of sloping downwardly like the illustrated mouthpiece 6, such a nasal adaptor would slope upwardly in relation to the vertical inhaler axis x, thus with the inclusion of an angle to the longitudinal axis x from about 45°.

Returning to the illustrated example embodiment in Fig. Ia, the housing 4 is divided transversely to the axis x by a support 22 attached to the internal wall of the housing 4 on the level of the transition from the housing 4 to the mouthpiece 6. The discshaped solid support 22 has a central recess 24, in which a sealing element 26 consisting of a thermoplastic material is inserted. This sealing element 26 is positioned in the recess 24 in a plug-like manner. The sealing element 26 is provided with a flow passage, in this example embodiment an airflow passage 28, which is orientated substantially linearly transversely to the axis x, which airflow passage 28, on both sides, is continued going through the support 22. The airflow passage 28 extends on one side of the sealing element 26 through the support 22 to the central opening 18 of the mouthpiece bottom 16. In the opposite direction, with regard to the sealing element 26, the airflow passage 28 goes, with a widening of its cross-section, to an upper housing section separated by the support 22. The airflow passage orifice 30 is formed on the broad surface of the support 22, which is turned towards the upper housing section, whereby this passage orifice 30 is covered by a filter element 32.

Consequently, the airflow passage 28 is divided into a passage section on the mouthpiece side and a section on the housing side. In the latter one, the filter-covered passage orifice 30 is formed. Furthermore, in this section, an after-flow opening 34 is provided, which is opposite the passage orifice 30 and forms a connection between the on- the housing-side section of the airflow passage 28 and the lower space 36 formed under the support 22. This after-flow opening 34 is covered by an air inlet valve 38 which is switched such that the after-flow opening 34 is only opened upon an airflow from the lower space 36 through the airflow passage 28 in the direction of the upper housing section. In the opposite airflow direction, the valve 38 closes this after-flow opening 34. The airflow passage 28, particularly in the region of the sealing element 26 and the section turned to the mouthpiece 6, is designed essentially smaller than the free cross- section of the mouthpiece 6. Thus, the diameter of the internal space of the mouthpiece 6 corresponds to about ten to thirty times the diameter of the airflow passage, the latter of which is tapered, particularly from the sealing element 26 in the direction of the opening 18 on the mouthpiece side, in the region of a slopingly downward-extending section, for the forming of a nozzle-type duct.

The sealing element 26 merges, in one piece and materially homogeneous, into a funnel-shaped substance storing chamber 40 facing the upper housing section, the substance storing chamber 40 having upwards, i.e. in the direction of the housing opening at the front side, a widening cross-section. The substance storing chamber 40 consists also of a thermoplastic elastomer or another rubber-type material.

The upper end of the substance storing chamber 40, having an expanded diameter, is sealed off by a rolling bellows 42 forming a cover of the substance storing chamber 40. A micronized powdered substance 44 is stored in the substance storing chamber 40, which substance 44 is inhaled in a portioned output by means of the exemplified arrangement.

A dosing chamber 46 is provided for the portioned output of the substance 44. The size of the dosing chamber 46 defines the output substance quantity. The dosing chamber 46 is formed as cross holes of a centrally along the axis x extending transfer member 48, herein illustrated as comprising a connector 50 attached to the upper end portion of a rod 52 formed as a flat bar. The cross holes go through the broad side wall surfaces of the flat bar, whereby this in cross-section has a width/length ratio from 1 :5 to 1 :20. In the shown embodiment, a flat bar thickness of about 0.5 mm is chosen, with a crosswise measured length of about 3 to 3.5 mm. The diameter of the cross holes is chosen, such that a formed dosing chamber 46 hosts from 0.05 mg to 0.1 mg.

The rod 52, with the dosing chamber 46, goes through the substance storing chamber 40 centrally in the direction of extension of the axis x. At the bottom of the substance storing chamber 40, the rod 52 further goes through the sealing element 26 with the crossing of the airflow passage 28 formed therein, as a result of this embodiment, by means of the rod 52, a closure of the airflow passage 28 is firstly attained.

In the hereto opposite direction, the transfer member 48 comprising the rod 52 extends upwardly via the substance storing chamber 40, with the passing through the rolling bellows 42, which is attached to the connector 50 of the transfer member 48. The dosing chamber 46 is in an initial position of the inhaler 2 according to the view of Fig. Ia, positioned in the lower third of the substance storing chamber 40, surrounded by the stored substance 44.

The connector 50 extending upwardly from the substance storing chamber 40 has a mushroom-shaped head 54. This is captured by towing arms 56 formed on the underside of the action button 8. Between the towing arms 56, a biasing coil spring 58 extends from the action button 8 to the head 54 of the connector 50.

The action button 8 extending substantially transversely to the inhaler axis x merges into a cylindrical section formed concentrically with the axis x and with a pot-shaped wall 60 which, with its opening, is downwardly dipping into the housing 4. The external diameter of the wall 60 is adapted to the internal diameter of the cylindrical housing section 12. The action button 8 is with its wall 60 insertable into the housing 4 when guided through the cylindrical section 12, with stop limitation in every end position. The movement area of the action button 8 is sealed off by a rolling bellows 62 which rolls into a gap between the action button 8 and the housing 4.

In the region of free end of the action button wall 60, which free end extends into the housing 4, a circumferential nut is provided in the external mantle wall, for housing a piston ring 64 consisting of an elastomeric material, which for sealing goes towards the inner wall of the cylindrical housing section 12. The initial position of the action button 8 according to the view of Fig. Ia, is supported by a return coil spring 66 acting on the underside of the action button 8, which spring 66 surrounds the connector 50 of the transfer member 48 and the towing arms 56 of the action button 8, and is supported at its other side by a holder 68 which holds the upper portion of the substance storing chamber 40 and its associated covering rolling bellows 42. In this initial position, the two concentric coil springs 58, 66 are in their relaxed uncompressed state.

In the path of displacement of the action button wall 60 come wedge-shaped connecting protrusions 70 with upwardly pointing bevels 72 of two diametrically opposite supporting arms 74 which support radially inwardly projecting press pieces 76 in the lower free end region.

The arms 74 and the radially inwardly pointing impinging surfaces 78 of the press pieces 76 forming cheeks 80 extend in a horizontal projection respectively in a cross- section through the inhaler 2 parallelly spaced to a broadside surface of the rod 52. Correspondingly, the impinging surfaces 78 are positioned turned to the broadside surface of the rod 52, whereby the impinging surfaces 78 are evenly formed. Particularly the arms 74, further particularly the hinge region 82 on the circular annular support are, with regard to the choice in material and/or with regard to the material thickness, chosen such that a radial pivoting about the hinge region 82 in the direction of the axis x is allowed. The resilient properties of the chosen plastic material are used for the self-acting return of the arms 74 to the original position.

The length of the arms 74, measured in the axial direction, is chosen such that the press pieces 76, provided on the end side, extend approximately at the level of the lower third of the storing chamber 40.

When a user pushes the action button 8, it is slidingly lowered into the housing 4 along the axis x, as illustrated in Fig. Ib. The housing 4 and, conditioned by the sealing via the piston ring 64, the pot shaped action button 8 form a compressed-air cylinder C, in which, in connection with the lowering of the action button 8, an air overpressure is produced. The internal underside of the action button 8 forms hereby a piston surface.

Thereto, in connection with the downward movement, the connecting protrusions 70 are impinged via the front edge of the wall 60 provided with a chamfer, which with a further lowering of the action button 8 results in a pivoting of the arms 74 about the hinge region 82. As a result of this, the press pieces 76 pivot, in a radial and inward direction, around a radius to the hinge region 82 with the curving of the substance storing chamber wall 84 to the filling position according to the view of Fig. Ib, in which the impinging surfaces 78 reach to parallel orientation to each other and to the broadside surfaces of the rod 52, in which position, at the intermediate position of the storing chamber wall sections, a substance portion is pushed into the dosing chamber 46. The substance, present on both sides of the dosing chamber openings in the initial position of the inhaler 2, is pushed into the cross hole by means of the substance storing chamber wall 84 and the press pieces 76 acting on this, whereupon, particularly with a micronized powdered substance, a self- retaining in the dosing chamber 46 is provided.

The curving of the substance storing chamber wall 84 for the pushing of substance 44 into the dosing chamber 46 is supported by the air overpressure produced in the compressed-air cylinder C in connection with this procedure. Even though not shown in the drawings, the action button 8 could be held in the depressed position by a latching means. Alternatively, the user could keep his finger on the depressed action button 8.

As the action button 8 is pushed downwardly the biasing coil spring 58 will become compressed and exert a downwardly-directed force on the transfer member 48. However, at this stage, due to a latching inhalation-triggered release mechanism arrangement 86, the transfer member 48 will remain in this substance-keeping position and the dosing chamber 46 will be kept safely inside the substance storing chamber 40. It should be noted that this is just an example embodiment illustrated, and that the general inventive concept may be implemented without incorporating a biasing mechanism and inhalation- triggered release mechanism.

In the illustrated example embodiment, the inhalation-triggered release mechanism 86 comprises a movable member, herein shown as a flap 88, which is mounted to a circular bearing 90 around which it can pivot. The inhalation-triggered release mechanism 86 further comprises a blade spring 92 urging the flap 88 towards the latching state shown in Figs. Ia-Ib. The bearing 90 is provided with a bore which, in the latching state, is in register with a recess in the mounted end portion of the flap 88. The rod 52 extends through the bore and to the bottom of the recess which forms an abutment surface 94. The abutment surface 94 thus prevents the rod 52 from being displaced under the force of the biasing spring 58.

In this latching state, the flap 88 extends from the circular bearing 90 substantially along the axis x and its free end portion is pressed by the blade spring 92 against a projection 96 from the inhaler bottom 14. In this latching state the flap 88, the projection 86 and the inhaler housing define a first volume Vl on the mouthpiece-side of the flap 88 and a second volume V2 on the opposite side of the flap 88. The first volume Vl is in fluid communication with the mouthpiece 6 via a first opening 98 and the second volume V2 is in fluid communication with the atmosphere surrounding the inhaler 2 via a second grille- formed opening 100.

With reference to Fig. Ia and Fig. 2, a dose counter 102 is provided in the lower space 36 of the inhaler 2. In the illustrated example embodiment, the dose counter 102 comprises a ratchet wheel 104 which via a common shaft is connected to and drives a pinion 106, which in turn via cooperating cogs or teeth hooks into a gear wheel 108. The gear wheel 108 is mounted on a shaft 110 for driving an indicia means 112 comprising a unit wheel 114 and a tens wheel 116 (Fig. 2), wherein the shaft 110 causes the unit wheel 114 to rotate which in turn, in conventional manner, after every tenth step, causes the tens wheel 116 to advance one step. A pawl 118 is provided to prevent the ratchet wheel 104 from moving in the wrong direction. The transfer member 48 comprises a flexible projection 120 which extends transversely from the end of the rod 52. The flexible projection 120 is adapted to engage with engagement surfaces of the ratchet wheel 104 to achieve a rotational movement thereof.

When the user inhales through the mouthpiece 6, an underpressure is established in the first volume Vl and causes the flap 88 to pivot around the circular bearing 90 towards the mouthpiece 6 against the force of the blade spring 92. This is illustrated in Fig. Ic. The flap 88 could in its relaxed state completely separate the first volume Vl from the second volume V2, and as the flap 88 starts opening due to the underpressure, the air will also be enabled to flow from the second volume V2 to the first volume Vl across the flap 88 for further assisting the pivoting of the flap 88. Alternatively, the flap 88 may only partially separate the two volumes Vl, V2, wherein, when a user inhales the underpressure and the flow from the second volume V2 will together cause the flap 88 to open. The pivoting of the flap 88 results in that the recess with its abutment surface 94 is displaced from being in register with the bore, thereby presenting the release mechanism 86 in a releasing state. In this releasing state, the rod 52 can under the force of the biasing spring 58 (and gravity) move downwardly along the axis x.

As illustrated in Fig. Id, in connection with the downward displacement of the rod 52 after the dosing chamber filling, the filled dosing chamber 46 goes in overlap to the airflow passage 28. Until then, the airflow passage 28 has been slidingly closed by the closing solid portion of the rod 52, enabling the producing of the overpressure in the pressurizable space which comprises the compressed-air cylinder C and the on-the housing-side section of the airflow passage 28. When a dosing chamber 46 reaches the airflow passage 28 (the substance-evacuating position of the transfer member 48), the so formed valve is temporarily opened. The cross hole forming the dosing chamber 46 becomes part of the airflow passage 28. The produced air overpressure causes a blow-type exhaustion of the portioned substance from the dosing chamber 46 to jet this portion into the mouthpiece 6. As also illustrated in Fig. Id, in connection with the downward displacement of the rod 52, the flexible projection 120 will hit the ratchet wheel, whereby the gearing mechanism will cause the dose counter 102 to advance its count one step. In Figs. Ia- Id, on the indicia means 112, a dot is shown purely for illustrative purpose. The dot is seen at "three o'clock" in Figs. Ia-Ic, but after the flexible projection 120 has affected the ratchet wheel 104, the dot is seen at "four o'clock", thus illustrating that a rotation has occurred.

By terminating a pushing contact of the action button 8 or releasing it if latched, the action button 8, together with the guided transfer member 48, will return to the initial position under the force produced by the return coil spring 66. When the flexible projection 120 on its return path hits the ratchet wheel 114, it will simply bend temporarily and continue past the ratchet wheel 114. The arms 74 having the press pieces 76 are released and, due to the resilient properties of the chosen material, pivot back to the original position illustrated in Fig. Ia.

In connection with the return-displacement of the action button 8 and the therewith following enlargement of the volume of the compressed-air cylinder C, air is fed in. This via the after-flow opening 34 and at least said second opening 100, suitably with a through flow of moisture absorbing material (not shown) at the corresponding opening of the air inlet valve 38.

Conditioned by the funnel-shaped design of the substance storing chamber 40, the substance material 44 slides self-actingly after the outer force on the storing chamber wall 84 by means of the press pieces 76 has terminated, whereby through the influence of the storing chamber wall 84 through the curving, such a moving-up of substance is supported by flex leveling.

With the exception of the elements having sealing properties and the substance storing chamber 40, and if applicable also with the exception of the construction part having resilient properties with arms 74, press pieces 76 and flexible projection 120, the inhaler 2, particularly the housing 4 and the action button 8 with the wall 60 and the holder 68 with the support 22, may consist of a plastic material, further particularly of a hard- plastic material. Also the transfer member 48 can comprise such a hard-plastic material. Suitably, with regard to this, the rod 52 may be made of a metallic material. The drawings have been provided for non- limiting illustrative purposes.

Consequently, alternative embodiments are conceivable. For instance, the illustrated transfer member could instead of a rod comprise another geometrically-shaped component as previously discussed. The compressed-air cylinder C could be closed by a valve, for instance at the level of the filter 32, for maintaining the overpressure, and then when the valve is opened the overpressure is propagated to the airflow passage 28 to entrain the substance from the dosing chamber 46. Also, other types of release mechanisms may be provided than those illustrated in the drawings. For instance instead of a release mechanism comprising a flap or a diaphragm, it would be conceivable to use other movable members such as a sliding piston. Likewise, other types of biasing mechanisms may be provided instead of the illustrated one which comprises an action button and spring. Furthermore, the size and number of dosing chambers may be varied, and a mechanism may be provided for adjusting how many of the dosing chambers will be presented to the flow passage during firing of the inhaler. Also, the illustrated dose counter is just an example, and other alternatives are readily conceivable. The translational motion of a linearly movable transfer member may be converted to a rotational motion and in various manners in order to advance a dose count. For instance, the dose counter may comprise a worm gear and a rotatable indicator with teeth which engage the worm gear. One such example of a gearing arrangement that may be implemented in the present invention is illustrated in WO 2006/110080, in which a ratchet wheel converts a movement into an incremental rotational motion of an axle arrangement advancing a display means, the axle arrangement further comprising a back rotation prevention means in the form of a spring loaded friction brake and a worm gear, the display means comprising rotatable indicator means with teeth that engage the worm-gear and a stationary scale. The display of such an indicator means could be provided e.g. at the bottom of the inhaler and be viewable through a window. Furthermore, the location of the dose counter does not have to be in the lower space 36 as illustrated in the example embodiment of the drawings. It may readily be provided elsewhere, e.g. above the substance storing chamber, in which case an upper portion of the transfer member would engage with the dose counter for advancing the number count.

Claims

1. An inhaler for powdered substance, comprising a flow passage for guiding substance towards an outlet, a substance storing chamber, a dose counter for counting a number of doses of powdered substance that has been or remains to be discharged, a transfer member which is displaceable in the substance storing chamber and which comprises at least one dosing chamber for taking up substance inside the substance storing chamber, the transfer member being displaceable between a substance-keeping position in which the dosing chamber keeps the substance and a substance-evacuating position in which the dosing chamber presents the substance to the flow passage, wherein the transfer member, during its movement towards the substance- evacuating position, engages with the dose counter for advancing the number count, and wherein, when the transfer member is in said substance-evacuating position, the dosing chamber is evacuated by an overpressure in the flow passage.
2. The inhaler as claimed in claim 1, comprising an actuator which, when actuated, is adapted to create an overpressure in a pressurizable space which comprises or which is arrangable in fluid communication with the flow passage for discharging the substance from the dosing chamber when the transfer member is in the substance-evacuating position.
3. The inhaler as claimed in claim 2, comprising an inhaler housing, wherein the actuator comprises an action button protruding from the inhaler housing, the action button being displaceable against a return spring, wherein the overpressure is established when the action button is displaced in the inhaler housing, which overpressure, through the displacement of the transfer member, is used in the flow passage for the discharge of substance.
4. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 2-3, wherein the created overpressure in the pressurizable space is released by an inhalation-triggered release mechanism when a user inhales through a mouthpiece or nasal adaptor of the inhaler.
5. The inhaler as claimed in claim 4, comprising a biasing mechanism adapted to bias the transfer member towards the substance-evacuating position, the transfer member being latched in the substance-keeping position by said inhalation-triggered release mechanism which, when a user inhales through the mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, unlatches the transfer member, thereby enabling it to move to the substance-evacuating position.
6. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 4-5, wherein the storing chamber is located on one side of the flow passage and the release mechanism is located on the other side of the flow passage, wherein the transfer member extends through the flow passage.
7. The inhaler as claimed in claim 6, wherein the release mechanism comprises an abutment surface for receiving one end of the transfer member and latching the transfer member in the substance-keeping position.
8. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 4-7, wherein the release mechanism comprises a movable member being movable from a relaxed position, in which the release mechanism is kept in a latching state, to an energized position in which the release mechanism is caused to be displaced to a releasing state, wherein a first side of the movable member partly defines a first volume which is in fluid communication with the mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, wherein, when a user inhales through said mouthpiece or nasal adaptor, an underpressure is established in said first volume causing the movable member to move from the relaxed position to the energized position.
9. The inhaler as claimed in claim 8, wherein a second side of the movable member, opposite to said first side, partly defines a second volume which is in fluid communication with the atmosphere surrounding the inhaler.
10. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 2-9, wherein the actuator, when actuated, causes at least a wall portion of the substance storing chamber to move towards the transfer member so that substance is urged into the dosing chamber.
11. The inhaler as claimed in claim 10, wherein the substance storing chamber wall, consisting of an elastic material, curves in the direction towards the transfer member when the inhaler is actuated.
12. The inhaler as claimed in claim 11, wherein the substance storing chamber wall, at least in the dosing hole region, curves into contact with the transfer member.
13. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 11-12, wherein press pieces are provided for curving of the substance storing chamber wall.
14. The inhaler as claimed in claim 13, wherein the press pieces are provided with cheeks which have impinging surfaces which, in a fully in-turned position of the press pieces, are positioned parallelly to the broadside wall surfaces of the transfer member.
15. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 13-14, wherein the actuator via bevels, pivots the press pieces in the direction towards the transfer member.
16. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-15, wherein the displacement of the transfer member from the substance-keeping position to the substance-evacuating position describes a linear motion.
17. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-16, wherein the substance storing chamber is located on one side of the flow passage and the dose counter is located on the other side of the flow passage, wherein the transfer member extends through the flow passage.
18. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-17, wherein the dose counter comprises an engagement surface which is located in the displacement path of an engagement surface of the transfer member, whereby said engagement surfaces become engaged with each other during displacement of the transfer member from the substance- keeping position to the substance-evacuating position.
19. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-18, wherein the transfer member comprises a rod which is displaceable in its longitudinal direction, wherein the dosing chamber is provided in the rod.
20. The inhaler as claimed in claim 19, wherein the transfer member comprises a projection which extends from the rod, wherein the projection is adapted to engage with the dose counter for advancing the number count.
21. The inhaler as claimed in claim 20, wherein the projection extends from an end portion of the rod.
22. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 20-21, wherein the projection is flexible in such manner that, when the transfer member returns from the substance- evacuating position to the substance-keeping position, the projection becomes temporarily bent by the dose counter as it crosses the dose counter.
23. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-22, wherein the dose counter comprises a ratchet wheel operatively connected to an indicator which indicates the current number count, wherein the transfer member is engagable with the ratchet wheel for advancing the number count.
24. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-23, wherein said at least one dosing chamber is designed as a cross hole of the transfer member.
25. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-24, wherein a part of the transfer member is designed as a flat bar.
26. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-25, wherein the overpressure is an air overpressure.
27. The inhaler as claimed in any one of claims 1-25, wherein a propellant gas in the form of a Hydro Fluoro Alkane (HFA) or a Chloro Fluoro Carbon (CFC) is provided for creating the overpressure.
PCT/SE2008/050947 2007-08-24 2008-08-22 Breath- triggered inhaler with dose counter WO2009029028A1 (en)

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US9179691B2 (en) 2007-12-14 2015-11-10 Aerodesigns, Inc. Delivering aerosolizable food products
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