Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spiriva Inhaler to help Compliance

I have been hinting about the new pharmaceutical devices that help aid medical compliance, so it is now time to write. It is the best interest of the pharma brands to come up with devices to make their patients more compliance with their medication regime.

First it makes them money (here’s the math: average drug therapy cost: $200; average length of therapy: 3 months - $600 plus another $200 per person per additional month). Second it makes the patient better (sometimes I like to think the pharma companies want to heal people). When the patients are better, their doctor’s look like they know what they are doing and prescribe the medication to more people – thus making the pharma brand more money to put back into their pockets, I mean R & D. It is a great cycle that compliance fuels.

BI and Pfizer just got European approval for Spiriva Respimat Inhaler for people who suffer from COPD. Here are the highlights from their press release:

"SPIRIVA Respimat represents a major step forward in COPD and inhalation therapy. Many patients find certain inhaler devices difficult to coordinate and use," said Professor Marc Decramer, Respiratory Division, University Hospitals, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. "SPIRIVA Respimat has a unique and sophisticated delivery system, and a user friendly design, making it easy to use and suitable for a broad range of patients with COPD. In addition the long-lasting, soft mist cloud generated by SPIRIVA Respimat ensures optimized delivery of SPIRIVA to the lungs, helping patients breathe more easily," he added.

In clinical studies comparing inhaler devices, patients preferred Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler, which may help increase patient compliance with therapy. The novel dose-delivery system of the SPIRIVA Respimat also means that unlike dry powder inhalers, the dose delivered is not dependent on patients' inspiratory flow.

SPIRIVA(R) (tiotropium), a first-line maintenance therapy for COPD, positively impacts the clinical course of the disease, helping to change the way patients live with their condition. The efficacy of SPIRIVA has been demonstrated by an extensive clinical development programme, which has treated over 25,000 patients. It is the most prescribed brand in COPD in the world.

The SPIRIVA Respimat delivery system relies on energy released from a spring, rather than propellants, to produce a long-lasting, slow moving Soft Mist. The innovative design makes SPIRIVA Respimat easy to use, and the Soft Mist results in improved delivery of SPIRIVA to the lungs, with reduced deposition in the mouth and throat compared to a pressurized metered dose inhaler (pMDI). One study showed that 72% of all patients use pMDIs incorrectly and almost half (47%) have problems with coordinating use of the device.

600 million people worldwide live with COPD and its prevalence is predicted to rise making it the world's third leading cause of death by 2020. It is estimated that up to 50% of Americans and 75% of Europeans with COPD are undiagnosed.””

I don’t know if I believe that 600 million people suffer from COPD, but this is from a pharma company so their measurement for COPD is probably a cough. Even though I think the percentages of undiagnosed COPD are high, I am not surprised that is a commonly undiagnosed condition.

I never had an inhaler, but I remember kids in school with them. It was either very nerdy, kinda neat or something for the bullies to steal. Whatever the case, it was always difficult to get a good pull. With the new spring loaded mist, I can hear all the COPD affected breathe a sigh of relief!

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