What is your opinion on inhaler designs

Hello all.

I've been suffering from asthma from around the age of 7 and personaly i'm sick of it, I'm now 25 years old and cant go anywhere without my inhaler, with the horrid fact that I will probebly never grow out of the condition I am starting to think of other ways to make my life that little bit easier.

I'm currently a year 3 product design student at hallam universiry and have 2 self directed projects which I must do, for one of these projects I am wanting to look into the current designs of inhalers we use to date.

I think they are all nasty pieces of design. To say that these objects have to be carried everywhere we go, they dont seem to belong anywhere when u are carrying them.

So because of MY personal experiences with the inhaler I am wanting to redesign the shape of the inhalers but I am just one person. I would really appreciate peoples opinion and personal experiences on this issue so I can get a general feel on wheather this is a wide spread problem for people or a minority.

I will give a link to the development of this project if I decide to take this subject further which of course depends on what the asthma community as a whole thinks about this.

Any respons at all will be very helpful indeed and I thank you all in advance.


27 Replies

  • Hi sounds like an interesting project. I have an interest in design myself (though more in relation to assistive technology). One thing I would really like to see is all inhalers having a meter saying how many doses are left. I find this invaluable on my Serotide inhaler but why don't my Ventolin inhalers have them too? I panic about running out so always have to have several on my person - I would feel more confident knowing I had enough doses left for when I needed them. The other thing about the ""puffer"" type inhalers is of course the grip strength required to activate them and the coordination required to ensure you breathe when they are pressed. However there are of course several alternative designs for people who have problems with these aspects - as well as spacers. However spacers are not very portable and that makes me wonder if people may be inhibited from carrying them around - if someone could design an inhaler with a built in mini spacer or some sort of buffer area to hold the dose while one breaths it in that would be useful.

    Maybe you could also look at the aesthetics - I'm sure many find them rather clinical looking and that might put some off - especially kids (can kids get brightly coloured or personalised ones maybe?)

  • a counter on regular MDI inhalers already exists in america. I would like inhalers (especially relievers) to be smaller and less bulky so that they would fit in pockets more easily. Sounds like a good project, and I too am interested in product design. Best of luck :)

  • Kymeia, the Able spacer, made by Clement Clarke, is fairly small and unobtrusive and you can put your inhaler inside it when not in use, which makes it even more compact. It might be just what you're looking for.


  • I would love ones that you can colour coordinate and a spacer that fits into a handbag would be a great idea, I have the huge chamber A&H one that is so akward to carry around as I found yesterday when I went out for the day, I ended up coming home early as I could not face carrying it around anymore


  • Hi Kate, just thought I would mention that there are already a few spacers available on prescription which will fit in a handbag. The one I use is the aerochamber plus. Its about the size of a small water bottle and it fits most handbags. There is also the Able Spacer which allows you to store your mdi inside it too, I'm not sure if this one is available on prescription but I'm sure someone will be along soon to confirm if it is.

    Hope this helps,

    Sparkly Fairy

  • I have the able spacer... but not and MDI inhaler! ( I dont know why they gave it to me the same day they prescribed me an autohaler) But it is a great size and if i were ever to have to chose a spacer to carry around I like that one because as stated earlier, it fits your inhaler inside, so that doesn't take up extra space.

  • Hello Nath,

    there have been quite a few ideas bantered around here already.

    There are quite a few things, both practical and novel already available for asthma. One of the easiest thing is stickers! Both on inhalers & the spacers. Then there are the inhaler design them selves - Colour is quite an important thing to enable people, both patient and others to ID the reliever - a universal blue in most cases, though blue on white for a few. the physical design - the most important bit is drug delivery - the rest is flexible in most cases - the autohaler looks like an Ice hockey puck or an air freshner!

    Spacers - need to be big enough to take the drug without it getting lost but small enough to 'space' it out ... if you get my description.

    Carrying cases - there are many ideas on the market already.

    Puffapouch.com are neoprene socks for inhalers, there is a new hard case thing called an asthma pod.

    Overall, do a GOOGLE search and see where the gaps are in the market.


  • I don't really care for the intermittant fashion for the tiny 'clutch purse' type handbags - by the time you have got inhaler, Omron neb, Epipen and drugs plus the usual wallet, keys, mobile, hairbrush etc there is just no way anything other than a big handbag is going to work! Mind you, I was always one to take everything but the kitchen sink with me when I went out, even before the days of brittle asthma, so I could never really see the clutch purse working for me.

    A zip-able wallet style carry case similar to those available for diabetics would be useful - lots of internal pockets for all the bits and peices we need to carry with us.

  • Ah - the Able spacer - I felt sure someone would have invented such a thing already :) Thanks

    Now just need to find one.

  • Ask your doctor - they're prescribable!

  • Hi ya i have an able spacer and you get them on ebay if you get stuck.

  • I can't think of anything worse than a second-hand spacer. Eugh!

    As CathBear says, your doc can prescribe one for you.

  • Oh well I went for my asthma checkup and flu jab today and asked the practice nurse about the Able Spacer. She hadn't heard of it and had to look it up, then told me she wouldn't let me have one as it's not the one recommended by the British Thoracic Society. I tried to tell her several GP's and in-the-know people here had suggested it but she wasn't having it.

  • Can't you ask your GP for one? My consulant just gave it to me. They opened a brand new one for a test i had to do and then he was like you can have it. I dont have any inhalers that fit in it though.

  • i didnt mean get a used one on ebay you can get new stuff on there too.

  • If anyone is on the easi-breathes (including myself) you would of probable noticed that it looks like a boot (it really does!).

    And In my own opinion, there should be some sort of ""fabric cover"" to fit all types of inhalers sort of like the iPod socks you can buy! Seeing as they only have covers at the moment for the ventolin ones.

    I think the easi-breathes, and well any other type of inhaler should be smaller. It's not nice carryiong a chunky inhaler around everywhere! (I'm sure alot of people will agree with me on this!)

    ""I will give a link to the development of this project if I decide to take this subject further which of course depends on what the asthma community as a whole thinks about this.""

    In my opinion i think that would be a very good idea, as it will be of convienience to alot of people :)

    I hope i helped (and bear with me, I'm new to this forum!!)


  • Natasha, try puffapouch.com for fabric covers but ask the peeps on the site if they fit easibreathe inhalers!


  • Able spacers

    This is a good product combining the one-way valve of the Volumatic so you can't breath back in to it with the convenient size & warning whistle of the Aerochamber. But I'm worried about people storing the inhaler inside as I thought the inside had an anti-static coating to prevent the particles sticking to the sides. This is why you have to be careful about cleaning the inside and if you put anything in it you'd scratch the coating.

  • bright colours needed

    hi its groovy chick here i have an easi breathe blue inhaler and love how you just breathe it in i have put sparkley stickers on as it not very colourful what so ever and very boring and i keep mine in a bright pink i pod sock cover and on a lynard you put around your neck like a mobile phone so that i can see it as i have a sight problem and i find it easy. so i think 4 people with a sight problem the inhalers ought to be in bright colours and to have a talking peakflow meter. and yeah the easi breathe could be smaller to more compact 4 hand bag and pocket

  • I have a Dia Pak diabetic organizer from diabetic shop.co.uk. It is fab. It fits Omron Microair, nebs, Epipens, prednisolone, Piko peak flow meter. You can get them in several sizes. Been trying to get organized and to have everything in the same place. I used to always be rooting in my bag for medicines and could never find the right thing. I also keep my emergency protocol in here so everything is together when I need it. I find this wallet organizer really useful, especially for asthmatics on a number of medications.

  • I know its a bit off topic as not completely asthma related but what would be great is if the puffapouch people made something similar for Epi-pens / Anapens. The boxes get destroyed when you carry them around and the lid is for ever coming off my Epi-pen tubes in my bag. Anapens just fill up with fluff if they aren't in a box.

    Anyone got any advice or tips? I'd like to find something inexpensive and streamline to keep them in!

    Sparkly Fairy

  • ooh and while we're on the topic of allergies... I could do with the Piriton people making sachets of their syrup like the Calpol ones you can get!

  • Sparkly Fairy, if you have a search for ""Allergy Pack"" I think you'll find what you're looking for epi-pen wise. You can get them in single-pen size or double-pen size, and there's one which even has an inhaler pouch on the side too.

  • allergypack.com, in fact. They are US-based but will ship to the UK. A twin epipen and inhaler pack is ~£22.

  • ooh thanks for that they look quite good!

    Just done a bit more searching round and found this set which looks a bit smaller: yellowcross.co.uk/products/16

    You can buy the 'tough tubes' separately too, I quite like those but unfortunately they don't fit the Anapen!

    It's really annoying but it's my local costa's policy to only supply Anapens to patients as opposed to Epipens, my cons said it was something to do with increased risk of stabbing yourself in the finger with an Epipen lol. Quite often I have a mixture of the two at home as I do prefer Epipens for some reason and get them from my GP.

  • i just wish there was some kind of holder or protecter for breath activated inhalers. I use both Salamol (like MDI's but with a lid and the mouth piece is attached to the inhaler's body) and Airomir where the mouth piece is ot attached to the body of the inhaler and also has a lever on top.

    I've seen 2 different types of protectors and holders but they are both for MDI's.

    Many times I have taken my inhaler out of my bag and found the mouth piece missing, especially the more it gets used or the older it gets.

    so if you could come up with an idea that is suitable for both of those designs, i'd be really impressed.

    Good luck with your projects


  • Epipens!

    ALK - Abello did a freebie case fitting 2 pens a while back - not sure if they still doo them - I have one (It is Black with Epipen in Yellow on it etc - has a divider in it - which I have chopped out so I could get extra bits in the pouch.

    I had yellow cross one previously - still got it - very good - fits 2 epipens fine.

    A see through pencil case is a cheap option!

    Inhalers - diddy mobile cases will take a chunky easi breathe inhaler.

    Oooh, just had a thought - baby socks would be good inhaler pockets LOL! - pop on a lanyard and if clever - cut out toe section for cap!


    ... off to raid Zac's sock drawer!

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