3M Designs an ‘Intelligent Inhaler’ System for COPD, Asthma and Other Respiratory Ills

3M Designs an ‘Intelligent Inhaler’ System for COPD, Asthma and Other Respiratory Ills

According to the World Health Organization, about 334 million individuals globally are afflicted with asthma, and 65 million suffer from moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a number expected to rise 24 percent by 2034, making COPD the world’s third leading cause of death.

3MDDSlogoTo meet this challenge, 3M Drug Delivery Systems is developing the “3M Intelligent Control Inhaler”, described as an intuitive, fully integrated device designed to deliver accurate doses of medication to patients, while offering on-screen instructions about the inhaler’s use, as well as feedback to the patient and healthcare provider via a mobile device app.


The inhaler’s ergonomic design, with a hygienic twist-and-lock cover, makes it easy to administer and discreet enough to be used comfortably in public. With accurate, metered dosing, 3M says patients can be confident that each dose was delivered. The optional dose counter also shows how much medication is left, and indicates when it’s time to replace the device.

“Providing an effective and intuitive delivery method for respiratory disease treatment is critical to patients, health care providers and payers alike,” said Louise Righton, 3M Drug Delivery Systems Global Marketing Operations Manager, in a press release. “Poor technique in using an inhaler, coupled with the challenges of getting patients to adhere to their medication protocols, can lead to exacerbations, increased use of health care resources and ultimately, a burden on health care systems. By increasing competence and adherence, we can realize better patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.”

The 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler incorporates several unique features that offer the potential to improve outcomes by reducing patient-associated variability and errors, and offer data on device use to healthcare providers. For example, controlled inspiration — a combination of technological response and breath actuation to control the delivery flow rate of medication — may significantly reduces errors in the device’s use, resulting in a much higher rate of drug delivery consistency.

Another feature is integrated patient instructions, both reinforcing confidence in the inhaler’s correct use and helping to eliminate critical errors, as well as minimizing the necessity for excessive training in correct inhalation technique.

The term “fully integrated device” means the dose is registered when the patient inhales the medication rather than at the device’s actuation, providing more accurate information to both the patient and healthcare provider, and possibly ensuring a cost-savings by avoiding unnecessary drug switches and treatment escalation.

“Capture of inspiration data” refers to the inhaler’s capability to utilize a data management platform to record not only device usage, but to also compile profiles that can help monitor disease progression and further support informed treatment decisions.

The 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler device will be developed in partnership with a pharmaceutical company, and is anticipated to be in widespread clinical use by the end of this decade.

“We’ve done a tremendous amount of research during the development of this technology with patients, health care providers, and payers,” said Dr. Steven Wick, technical director, 3M Drug Delivery Systems. “With 60 years of experience in inhalation technologies, and 30 years in health information systems, 3M is uniquely qualified to bring forth a solution that is a definitive win for each of these stakeholders. Nothing has worked to improve inhaler technique over the past 25 years — and here we have a connected device to improve both competence AND adherence. The need for a smarter solution has never been greater, and 3M intends to put greater control of respiratory disease into the hands of patients, health care providers and payers.”

For more information on the 3M Intelligent Control Inhaler, call 1-800-643-8086 (US), 44-1509-613034 (UK) or click here.


3M Drug Delivery Systems

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