Designing a new inhaler. Your help an... - Asthma UK communi...

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Designing a new inhaler. Your help and advice please

Hi. For a design task i am set to design an inhaler which is suitable for recycling or to be reusable. I am aware that the current products available are typically disposed of as household waste and when you consider hundreds of millions are manufactured every year this is not ideal

I am trying to find out how asthma sufferers live there life with their inhaler etc, what you would like to see in a reusable/refillable inhaler before you switch over from your standard one. Any information and help you could give would be great and hugely beneficial to my project. If you could try and answer some of the following questions as well it would be very much appreciated.

How do you currently dispose of your inhalers?

How long does your inhaler typically last?

How many do you have at any one time?

Are you keen to recycle?

Would you be interested in a reusable inhaler?

What would you like to see in a new design?

And any other useful info you could give.

Many thanks


8 Replies

I am aware that other/similar topics have been done before but my own individual research is very important to my project.


for your time


Hi John, I understand that you need to do your own research, but do have a look at the previous topics as there may be some useful information for you on there. I'm sure many of us will be happy to help but you are meant to obtain permission from Asthma UK before conducting research using these boards, I'm not sure how strict the mods are about it.

I dispose of my empty inhalers with my regular household waste, if for whatever reason have been switched to a different inhaler before the old one has run out then I would return the old one to a pharmacy. My seretide lasts a month, and unfortunately I'm finding myself needing a new ventolin each month too. I have 1 seretide inhaler plus 3 relievers on the go at once (one for my handbag, one for the car for when I don't have my bag, and one for the house) seems a bit like overkill but I really worry about running out or finding myself having an attack without an inhaler!

I would recycle if I had the option, providing it was fairly straight forward, and I'd be happy to reuse my inhaler provided it was easy to refill. I think I would want to be able to just put a fresh cartridge containing around months supply of drug into the reusable delivery system. Inhalers that require you to put a new capsule in every time you take a dose (such as the spiriva handihaler) would put me off as they seem rather fiddly and not very convenient if you're traveling. I personaly would need a reusable DPI as the propellants in MDI's cause me problems. However there seems to be a lot of people on these boards who prefer MDIs and I imagine the plastic part of current models would be reusable if the canisters were available separately. If you did redesign an MDI it would be important that it still fits standard spacers.

I hope some of this helps, feel free to PM me.


Currently I'm making finger puppets from the plastic outer cases for granddaughter. Do wish that either the casing was made from recyclable plastic or recycling centre had a bin for collection of canisters and outers. Not in favour of re-using the canisters, afraid might be like re-useable printer cartridges - a bit hit and miss.


To answer your questions:

I dispose of my inhalers by throwing in the bin

Use about one a month

I have several on the go at any one time - one in handbag, on bedside table, in car

I love the idea of being able to recycle - ie put in plastic recycle bin

I don't like the idea of reusable ones in case they malfunction

Very sorry but I have no ideas on improving the design.

Hope that helps - good luck with the project.


Household waste.

A month.

I have 3 different inhalers (different drugs), and often have 2 or 3 of one of them on the go at once.


Yes, for the plastic part but I think the canister should be new each time so we can be guaranteed it will work.

That it retains the oblongy shape mouth piece so it fits all spacers. One of the new ones doesn't fit the large spacers and stretches the latex of the smaller ones.


i play rugby

there are 2 of us in my team who have asthma

and we've both found that when we put our inhalers in our boot bag, the plastic casing often gets cracked.

so maybe a tougher outer casing??


It would be good if all inhallers had a counter on. Can't explain how frightening it is to not know that you are running out until it's too late......


I have just been started on Spiriva respimat and its a fantastic inhaler design though a little difficult to get the hang of and the ""crack"" you get when you take the inhaler takes some getting used to.

Here's some info


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