Smart Inhalers to Make Huge Difference in COPD & Asthma Patient’s Lives

Adherium plans to launch smart inhalers to provide information in a patient portal to track their activities and can be synched with Apple & Android devices.

COPD and asthma devices are lifeline for people with respiratory diseases. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) estimated that around 300 million people suffer from Asthma globally. Moreover, COPD was the world’s 3rd leading cause for death in 2013. Wearable electronic devices have been introduced in the market owing to technological advancements. These devices are helping patients as well as their caregivers to track health conditions and take necessary actions.

Types of devices:

Metered-dose inhalers (MDIs):
Patients need to be educated to use these devices as drugs are delivered through small airways in COPD & asthma patients. In addition, a good coordination is required as problems arise due to improper coordination between inspiration and activation of a device. The proper use results in better results and proves to be a cheaper solution. 

Spacers make co-ordination of inspiration and activation less critical. It helps in increasing the proportion of dose delivered to airway to produce desired effect. However, it reduces the proportion absorbed in the body to reduce unwanted side effects. It offers ease in use for children and elder patients. Patients who have not used inhalers before, spacers are the best solution for them. Prescription costs are reduced as treatment is based on cheaper MDIs with spacers. 

There are three types of nebulizers - compressor, ultrasonic, and mesh. The choice of nebulizer depends on the choice of a drug. Among these devices, ultrasonic nebulizers take shorter time for treatment and give high mass output. So, it is recommended by healthcare professionals for asthma attacks. 

Adherium’s Smart Inhaler:
New Zealand-based Adherium is planning for a smart inhaler platform to help people with asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder. Patients can adhere to their medication regime and leverage digital health tools. Company's founder realized that current inhalers lack does not provide information. Garth Sutherland, Adherium's founder & CEO said, "There’s nothing in the existing, off-the-shelf inhalers that show me how you are using your medications. You don’t have a window on how the disease is going. When you took it, where you took it, how often you are taking it. If you forgot to take it, there was nothing to help you remember to take it."

Smart inhaler from Adherium provides information about patients to a patient portal through Bluetooth and can be synched with apps in Apple and Android operating systems. In case, patients forget to take medication, they can track it on their apps to know what they have missed and take appropriate actions.

Instructions would make difference:

A lot of people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma do not know how to use inhaler devices. These devices are used to deliver medicines that can save their lives when patients are craving for air. Many of these patients need to be admitted in the hospital if their symptoms get out of control. These problems can be solved only by emphasizing more on teaching patients with COPD and asthma on how inhaler devices work, as per the new study. The risk of misuse is increased when patients change devices.

This study was published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Researchers conducted an experiment, in which a randomly assigned group of patients with COPD and asthma received personalized and hands-on instructions. They were given instructions on how to use inhalers while their stay in the hospital. Researchers found that 91 percent of the patients who received instructions on how inhalers work, used the devices correctly. While, 40 percent of patients who did not receive instructions, used inhalers correctly. 

Valerie Press, study author from the University of Chicago, stated the importance of providing inhaler teaching to patients. He said, "The vast majority of patients do not get inhaler teaching in the hospital setting, especially for rescue devices. Without good control, patients are at risk for more breathing attacks, and possibly even more emergency room visits or hospitalizations."

Patients having low health literacy benefitted from these instructions. Only 15 percent of the patients who received instructions suffered from an acute symptom flare-up. While, 70 percent of patients who did not instructions suffered from flare-ups. The researchers said in their study, "Inpatient treatment-to-goal education may be an important first step toward improving self-management and health outcomes for hospitalized patients with asthma or COPD, especially among patients with lower levels of health literacy.”

Analysts studying the market have presented a thorough information about current market trends and forecasts in research reports. Allied Market Research has published a report titled, “World COPD and Asthma Devices Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2013 - 2020.” As per the report, the world COPD and asthma devices market is expected to register a CAGR of 4.5% from 2014 to 2020 and would reach $34.3 billion by 2020. The report offers a detailed analysis of market segmentation, opportunities, value chain analysis, and competitive scenario. Furthermore, the study provides SWOT analysis, estimations through 2014 to 2020 for each segment, and dominating segments in the industry.

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