Problems With Your Inhalers

I am a design student who suffers with asthma, I am going to re-design an inhaler and would like to know if they are any problems that anybody had occurred while using their inhaler. I have come across a few problems myself, the Easi-breath inhaler often goes off randomly or doesn’t work at all, the Ventilion inhaler which I have found is one of the most common because it’s the cheapest, directly sprays the steroid into your mouth leading to pealing of the skin. These are just two examples but it could be as simple as you don’t like the look of it.

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. (If you could please state your age and gender it would be helpful categorising the problems that occur)



10 Replies

  • Hi Thomas,

    I'm from the States, but the thing that came directly to mind for me is that, having been on many preventer inhalers, they're all different! Particularly the powder kind that are breath activated. Do you guys have those there? Usually the directions go something like...turn applicator to the right three time! Then inhale. Or push button three times....personally I have two advanced degrees and I have to read the instructions every single time. I've missed doses (or wasn't sure if I'd missed doses) because of this. I also have to read the instructions for each inhaler every time, because there are a different number of preparation puffs, to get it primed. I just think this could be much simpler....especially for all those who have unknowingly missed doses because of it!


  • My main problem is with the way simbicort inhalers work. You twist then breathe in as deeply as possible to get the powder.

    When my asthma is very bad I have to nebulise with ventolin first in order to be able to breathe/suck enough to inhale it properly. I regularly have to use a ventolin inhaler a bit before I use it for the same reason.

    If simbicort wasn't as effective when I do finally get it in me I think I'd have given up by now!

  • My inhalers are mainly powder ones and give you a reading on how many are left.

    Would be good if the spray ones also do a reading on how many puffs are left.


  • I dont have problems myself but when I was in hospital I noticed that the older generation couldnt push down on the evoinhalors hard enought to get a puff with one hand

  • I would also agree with the mentioned problems with symbicort, it gets pretty frustrating! Also a counter on salubtomol would be very nice, and a smaller spacer perhaps. Another thing with the symbicort is that it makes a really loud noise which can be embarassing if you have to take it when its quiet!


  • Something for young children to use would be good. My son's only 3 and a half and will be going to school in September and will be expected to use his inhalers himself. I don't know how he's going to get on. Something ergonomic for small hands and something that doesn't require too many things to think about.

  • something so that you didnt have to try hard to breath in enough but also doesnt require coordination!

  • I usually use the easi-breathe and find the same problems, and the auto-inhalors sometimes need too big a puff to eject the dose, or they just dont work at all, luckily its a preventer rather than a reliever, would be rubbish in an emergency. Good luck!!

  • personally never had any problems, but the easi-breathe and others that require lung effort to extract the medication is while good at getting the timing problem sorted, is not a very good idea if you have problems with low lung function, and to that extent pMDI's and a spacer are better and even some data sets support that, yet those new to asthma and struggling to breath still get given easi-breath etc.

  • i really dislike using symbicort which is why i went back to using seretide- i couldnt ever work out if i was dispensing it properly, or if i had successfully inhaled all of the medicine- my asthma nurse told me to suck twice to make sure, which became a bit of a chore when on doubled up doses etc. Im really not a fan of that style of inhaler.

    i once was given a salbutamol inhaler that i think was easy breathe- one where you breathe in and it triggers the dose- that was fantastic, but havent been given one since.

    the major problem i have had with your basic inhaler body is the tendancy for things to get inside the casing- bits of dirt and debris, if your carrying one in a bag or pocket. I once inhaled a miniture thumbnail sized photograph that had slipped inside the casing..... i just hope it isnt still fluttering around inside my lungs! its made me very wary of inhaling after storing my inhaler in a bag now.

    More rigid bodies, with silicone style caps that are attatched so they cant be lost would be nice- you could even make silicone 'skins' as an accessory. These basic bodies could then be re-useable and repeat prescriptions could just be for replacement canisters. It would reduce wastage, particularly in sufferers who get through large number of inhalers in a year.

    the mini compact inhalers are nicer and generally more user friendly i have found :)

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