Leveraging the patient journey to steer inhalers development
Living with chronic respiratory diseases like Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is more than a challenge, not only because these pathologies affect the airways, causing breathing difficulties, but also because correct use of the device to administer the treatment is not always easy. In 2022, close to 850 million people in the world are suffering from a chronic respiratory disease notably asthma and COPD.
Global recommendations for the management of asthma and COPD highlight the importance of ensuring patients are adherent to their prescribed long term dosing regimen. However, adherence remains a big challenge, in large part due to the improper use of inhalation devices and a lack of patient comprehension and training. There is a comprehensive choice of inhalers in the market, the three main types being dry powder inhalers (DPIs), pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) and Soft Mist Inhaler (SMI).
More recently, a new type of inhalers has become available with soft mist inhalers (SMIs). SMI is a device that generates fine, slow-moving aerosol of a liquid formulation. This technology avoids propellants and reduces the need for patient coordination and inspiratory effort. The main challenge is to generates droplets size bellow 5µm to reach the lung, which is no easy task when designing such a device. Currently the only commercialized device is Respimat® from Boehringer Ingelheim pharma, launched in 2004.
Nemera recently completed a discovery research effort aimed to understand how SMIs, which today are quite unique on the market, compare to alternative modalities i.e. DPIs and pMDIs from those who use and prescribe them every day. The research included both asthma/ COPD patients as well as prescribers (GPs and pulmonologists), and leveraged contextual inquiry, whereupon in addition to conducting qualitative interviews, researchers met with patients in their homes to observe their daily treatment routine. This immersive, contextual approach allows us to develop a deep understanding of environments, behaviors and attitudes, and the ‘whys’ behind them.
To read the artice: HERE
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