Asthma UK community forum
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I posted on the forum about six months ago regarding the the re design of the asthmatic inhaler, i have got my product sorted and designed and had a colossal amount of feedback.

i took the design to new designers in London and i have been picked up to go to Germany to a massive design event, the biggest in Europe.

i would love whatever feedback anyone give, if you follow the link at the bottom you should be directed to my temporary portfolio and be able to view what it looks like. This can be done by posting in Google and clicking on the first link.

You may wonder how it works and unfortunately at this present moment in time i cant post the working drawings online, although i have worked with asthma nurses, doctors, physio therapists and university professionals who absolutely love the design.

i basically want to get the design out there for you guys to see and eventually carry because its about it was changed for the better, so asthmatics aren't putting up with bad, degrading design on constant daily basis.

any break through is worth it no matter how small it may be.

If anyone would like to contact me my name is David Turner and my email is <removed by passing moderator - please don't post email addresses on the boards>

Thank you =)

21 Replies

Looks good :D I like the idea of it fitting better into a pocket.

Three questions:

1. Is there a risk of it rolling away?! Just thinking about if someone's really struggling, knocks it, it rolls off the table and under the sofa, oops...

2. Does it fit spacers? If not it wouldn't be suitable for lots of users unless the spacers were all redesigned and I can't see the manufacturers doing that. :(

3. Are the colours just prototypes? A lot of people, including non-asthmatics, know that the blue inhaler is what is needed if someone is having an attack - I think you would need to stick to this colour scheme.


Hi thanks for getting back to me.

regarding the questions

1. it cant roll away due to the top been slightly recessed from the main body.

2. The mouth piece is exactly the same just longer erecting the problem that some users said it wasn't long enough. I'm also working on a compact spacer that slides down which would largely benefit kids in school.

3. The color, the design comes in a range of colors, did a questionnaire on the color issue, i understand that the two colors are blue and beige. the concept is that an asthmatic could go into a pharmacy such as boots or Lloyds and pick what ever color they see fit, to then put there own prescribed drug into. i think that a user would remember which they had, for example they could buy a red inhaler for the blue drug and a green for the beige drug. but if they only have one it doesn't really matter. however the window at the front will indicated what drug is loaded into the design because on the canister it says and has a blocked color at the top, this would be visible in the cap.

eventually instead of getting a new inhaler each time you go to the doctors you could just get the actual canister, which would in theory save the NHS millions per year, but as a back up have original one if needed.

in the 70s you only got prescribed glasses, like ken's wife on coronation street, now we go into vision express or specsavers and the choice is huge, why cant you guys go somewhere and be able to pick what your inhaler looks like.

i hope this helps and im enjoying the feedback

Dave =)


Hi I loved your design. I would agree with Ratty about the colours. I would also say that it would be helpful to incorporate some tactile marker so that if a person needs their inhaler in the dark they can be sure that they are using the correct one. If you look at a ventolin inhaler there is a raised V on the front panel.



Thank you, thats a brillient idea, i'll look into that ASAP.

thanks again

dave =)


I love the new design but agree with ratty regarding the colours, as a fist aid trainer we train people that the blue inhaler is the one for emergency's. We don't train the name of the drug just a colour. Also is there a way to add a counter to it as I have this at the moment so I know when the inhaler is getting low?



yer i did some research on the countering system, and amount of people who wanted a counter on there inhaler was huge, however this would boost up the cost of the design big team but i believe in the US its a standard thing to have on inhaler. this point was actually brought up when working with the asthma nurses.

I'm glad people have raised the issue of colour, the canister i had and worked with had a block of colour at the top to indicate which drug it was, which is seen through the window on the front of my design.

This is defiantly something that needs to be addressed when i come to work with the larger companies, because its certainly a key issue.

valuing your time for feedback

thank you

Dave =)


I'm sure you've thought of this and it would probably be clear with pictures showing it in use, but I'm assuming it's used with the canister horizontal instead of upright as currently used? If this is the case, does it effectively deliver the same amount of drug each time, especially when more than half empty?

How do the costs compare? I have 4 different MDI inhalers (plus I prefer to have several 'blue' inhalers in different places) - would I need several outers?

Cleaning - how easy is it to clean/get dry quickly? The Intal inhaler I've just started makes a right mess and needs regular cleaning - it even comes with a spare outer so it can be used whilst the other is being washed/dried. As the different drugs have different partical sizes, have you tried a range to ensure none bung it up?

One major issue I can see is that if this did become a new inhaler design, you'd have LOTS of unhappy people/manufacturers as most products are currently designed for the traditional design - from spacers, to bags, to puffer pouches, all the literature with illustrative material, etc. etc., which would eiher be redundent or have to be redesigned.

Another thing (sorry, I do shut up sometimes!!) - the design of the MDI inhaler, especially the blue reliever, is universal and known in many countries, for instance when I went to Australia last year, people knew what it was and the first-aider who was asigned to me knew what to do if things went wobbly - if a new design was introduced in one country, you would lose that universality and there's the possibility it could put people at risk if their medication isn't easily recognised either for what it is or even as a medicine (I do get your comparison with specs and choice, but specs aren't life-saving and I wonder if variety would be problematic with medications).


No seriously don't be scared to say what you think, i can take critical feedback im not one of these that go off crying saying my life's a waste of time etc etc. YOUR my target market, this design is for YOU and without this sort of help i'm not going to get the information i need for improvement.

The design is very easy to clean and take apart, its not complicated at all, and there's no small areas for germs to bread its all open and 'flowing' you might say so it would dry fairly quickly.

im interested in the inhaler bags, no one even told me about these, i got told about the spacers but not the bags, i did however look at the pouches that sort of go round it like 'body warmer', this looks to be a sort of accessory and yeh it would have to be re-designed, as many things have been refined over the years as new products have come on to the market.

if you don't mind me asking why do you have several inhalers in numerous places?

again thank you =)



looks great David, very hitech, well done, good luck with it, i like the idea if it fitting in the pocket better without digging in.

george xx


I have multiple reliever inhalers so I can keep one by my bed, one in my bag I usually take out and one in my swimming bag (other people keep spares in the car, office, etc. as relevent to them). Having multiple relievers means I don't have to remember to pack it when going out - I know it's there - it also means I'm not relying on just one which could run out, stop working, etc.


ok, so the one you use in public, ie the one you carry in your bag?

are you embarrassed about using it?



No, I'd rather be alive and breathing. If other people stare/make comments that's really their problem.


thats a good point.

the research i did in collaboration with the OT department in university and with a local asthma nurses showed that about 8 in 10 people where embarrassed about using there inhaler espeically people aged between 13-30.

The inhaler isn't a luxury its a necessity, but there's definitely room improvement design wise for those who don't like using it and want something different, however i do understand that some users will be happy to carry on using standard inhaler.

More than 5.2 million people in the UK are being treated for asthma and about 1.1 million of these are children, and i think more than half of these want to improve inhaler because it hasn't really been redesigned to a good standard, people have tried and have failed. i had no intention of getting this design on the market till the realization kicked in by the amount of positive feedback i had from the two design shows i attended.

Dave =)


I know what ratty means, & it's the best attitude, but I must confess I do sometimes put off using my reliever at the time I'd like to, cos I find it embarrassing, tho I've used inhalers for over 40 yrs. Depends who I'm with!

Also the current L-shape is quite clunky - in a jeans pocket for example - so even tho a totally new design would mean some expense/obsolete stock for manufacturers, in terms of related products etc, I think its popularity with users would compensate. Designs should develop to keep pace with new technology, otherwise we'd still have mobile phones the size of house bricks hehe

In common with most people on here David, I also have different relievers in different places eg bag/bedside/work/car, plus a steroid one and a long-acting reliever, plus spares of everything, so probably about 10 around in all! But most people on here have fairly troublesome asthma whereas the vast majority of asthmatics probably only have a reliever, & maybe a steroid one.

I have arthritic hands so that leverage idea definitely appeals to me. Plus it just looks cool & cute!


On your subject on being embarrassed nowadays I agree with ratty it's not a choice but as a nieve 11 year old starting out at secondary school I was incredibly embarrassed by my condition and tried to be descreet I was of an age where what people said mattered and the fac.t I was using a giant volumatic spacer at the time due to poor inhalation ability left me open to niggling remarks from other kids whi h got alot worse and turned into bullying which in turn as I say I was very nieve ment I stopped using my reliver in school which left me very very poorly and resulted in being signed off of school as such for over a month with asthma and complications . In short what I'm trying to say is I think the embarrassing part is probably much younger people as niece as I was ! But what a lovely design looks very easy to carry ect wish you the best of luck


I agree on the embarrasment side - had huge problems at school not helped by having some teachers who didn't 'believe' in asthma, but I think now my asthma's more severe I know I need the meds and my health has to be a priority over other people's issues.

Just something that occurred to me today, so I took some of my inhalers apart out of curiosity - are there different sizes to fit different sized canisters - some are longer than others? Also, my Intal has a plasticy bit at the bottom that the other don't have which is part of the design but makes it wider at the bottom - would this fit?

Have you looked at the Lifehaler? I'm not sure what happened to the production of this because I was really hoping to get one as it would be great for swimming, but it's design seems similar to yours?


in relation to various sizes and the other inhalers.

i understand that the canisters that go into every inhaler are pretty much standard but coming in two sizes, the normal standard large size and the smaller ones. My partners mum has the smaller one.

so design wise what changes is actually the injection molded body that holds the canister, so to hold the smaller canister yes my inhaler would have to come into different sizes one smaller and the standard larger size.

what is apparent is that no matter the inhaler, they are L shaped and hold the same bad design properites across the board and my inhaler doesn't.

As for the lifehaler if were thinking of the same one included in my report i fail to see how its the same as mine, plus its for a completely different function, target market, and would require a totally different design process. because i doubt you could use the standard common inhaler while swimming so its like saying you could use a normal camera underwater which you cant, but there are cameras out there that can be used in and underwater.


Just meant it wasn't L-shaped, that's all - trying to be helpful, but obviously wasn't. :(

Is there a reason all inhalers are L-shaped and designed for the canister to be used in an upright position?


Hi, only just started reading this thread as have been away for the weekend. I think its essential for the reliever inhaler to remain blue. As an example, I help at a pony trekking centre at weekends where we take people out riding for the day in the welsh mountains. I always have an inhaler in my saddle bags and it stays there until it goes out of date and gets replaced (or is empty). We always ask people if they need to take inhalers with them, especially children. If a child is having an attack they may not be able to speak enough to tell us what colour their reliever inhaler is for us to find it, so we need to be able to find the blue inhaler quickly (or I will give them mine). I agree that there needs to be a tactile difference for blind people (or finding it in the dark so as not to wake the other half in the middle of the night). Counters are a great idea (my purple Seretide preventer inhaler has one and contains exactly 31 days worth of drug at 4 puffs a day). That way when you get to 20 measures left you know to start a new inhaler as with less than 20 puffs you get mostly propellant and not as much drug. It would help if the current relievers had counters too so you didn't have to guess just from shaking or fiddling about weighing it and maybe throw one away that still has enough Ventolin in it, that may even save money. Hope this helps!


you are been helpful =) everyone of you, im loving the feedback and like i said its better i get it now because at some point down the line someone is gona say exactly what you guys are saying now so its good that i get it now so in the future i can have my answer ready or change my design.



Apart from saying that it must remain current colours so recognized for treating Asthma, love it, so sexy, which I know seems an odd thing to say about something that is for medical benefit. But it just looks so amazing, whilst I have no embarrassment about using inhalers in public or accidentally dropping mine and people seeing it and have to explain what it is, I think this could actually become quite a cool item to have on your person (of course only if you need it). Really hope that potential pharmaceutical companies are interested in taking this design up as a proto type and working on mass marketing it. Of course in the dear ole NHS as things stand today, new design is going to cost, and if its benefits cannot be proven there will be many difficult challenges to change people's minds, but for our sake's I hope it works!


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