3M inhaler

About 400 million people worldwide suffer from either asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and the numbers are rising rapidly every year. Medication delivered in the form of aerosol sprays can be effective in treating the symptoms, but studies show that patients using standard inhalers often have low levels of adherence to treatment instructions, and may not use the devices correctly. We’ve written about smart inhaler devices in the past, but now the giant corporation 3M is weighing in with a self-contained solution of its own.

Through its 3M Drug Delivery Systems has created the Intelligent Control Inhaler, that provides a number of benefits over standard devices. It relies in part on the patient’s breath to actuate the drug delivery, which controls flow rate and reduces errors in use. The result is more consistent dosage delivery. The device does not record the dose as having been delivered successfully unless the patient inhales correctly. This helps healthcare professionals track the effectiveness of the dosage level by ignoring “lost” doses. And the device is intelligent in that it records the times that the medication is administered, as well as other data about the patient’s breathing patterns. This information is then relayed to healthcare professionals through an app.

The device is still under development in partnership with a pharmaceutical company, and is expected to be widely available within the next few years.