Inhaler technology that revolutionises how medication is delivered to the lungs is now available in Australia and set to become the delivery platform for a range of inhaled therapies, says Boehringer Ingelheim.
Boehringer Ingelheim confirmed that Spiriva (tiotropium bromide 5mg) is the first therapy available in the new Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler and will be added to the PBS on 1 October for the treatment of COPD.
Spiriva HandiHaler (tiotropium bromide 18mcg), which is currently the most widely prescribed COPD maintenance therapy, will continue to be available in Australia.
The company also confirmed plans to make a number of medications available via the Respimat Soft Mist inhaler, which uses mechanical energy rather than a propellant to deliver medication to the airways as a slow moving, fine mist. This design feature helps maximise lung deposition and reduce the amount of medication deposited in the throat and mouth.
Professor Matthew Peters from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at Macquarie University says, “The Respimat Soft Mist inhaler is very interesting from an engineering perspective and enerates aerosol particles in a different way from other current inhalers.”
In studies across a number of patient groups, including those with COPD and asthma, the Respimat device has recorded higher rates of lung deposition with a range of medications compared to traditional metered dose and dry powder inhalers.
Unlike MDIs which require hand-breath coordination or DPIs which are breath-dependent, Respimat generates an aerosol cloud independent of the patient’s inspiratory effort and greatly reduces the need to coordinate actuation with inspiration.
“For patients who use the device well, it removes the need for accurate timing of device actuation and it does not require a high inspiratory flow rate,” Prof Peters says.
“All the patient has to do is take a relatively normal, but deep breath, and the medication reaches the lungs as a fine mist.”
Prof Peters says that it is of the greatest importance that patients using respiratory medications be able to use inhalation devices easily and accurately.
“GPs, specialists and pharmacists have an opportunity to work together to ensure that patients using this device do so well, so as to get maximal benefits,” he says.
Spiriva remains the only medication approved for the prevention of COPD exacerbations.
Dr Rob Creek, Boehringer Ingelheim ANZ Medical Director, says that the company is rolling out an extensive education program to support prescribers, nurses and pharmacists introducing patients to the Respimat Soft Mist inhaler.