Single-Use Devices for Dry Powder Inhalers

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A single-use DPI from Perlen Packaging, which offers lower-cost production and a more affordable device for emerging markets, won a 2017 CPhI Pharma Award.

Inhalation drug products can be delivered using nebulized solutions, metered dose inhalers (MDIs), and dry powder inhalers (DPIs). MDIs and DPIs are combination products, which include both the drug and the device. A single-use DPI from Perlen Packaging, Perlamed-BLISTair, received the 2017 CPhI Pharma Award for Excellence in Pharma: Drug Delivery Devices. Pharmaceutical Technology spoke with Matteo Trisoglio, manager of Business Development at Perlen Packaging, about trends in dry powder inhalers and their new technology.

PharmTech: What do you see as key trends in the use of dry powder inhalers?

Trisoglio (Perlen): We see a trend in emerging markets where diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are increasing due to pollution and nicotine consumption. These markets are requesting low-cost devices.

In some markets where there is no health insurance, patients may share multi-use devices with other patients because the complete system is too expensive to them. A single-use device can solve this problem and provide a clean and hygienic device.

Another trend is the desire for easy handling and convenience. Patients in developed countries buy multiple inhalers to place in the car, the kitchen, or wherever they have the need to place the supplementary device. With single-use DPIs, patients can carry the exact dose of inhalations they need. On a two-day business trip, for example, simply take two BLISTair blisters with you.

With a single-use device, patients can purchase the exact prescribed number of inhalations when it comes to short-term inhalation periods (i.e., non-chronic diseases, perhaps vaccines), which may lead to new products and new markets.

PharmTech: I understand that your device is the first single-use DPI. Have you compared it to traditional, multi-use DPIs?


Trisoglio (Perlen): We compared the BLISTair with one existing device available on the market, using the corresponding API. The single-use DPI showed good results, similar to one of the device on the market, without adaptation. We also tested the device resistance [the amount of inhalation force required to deliver the drug] and found that it is fully adjustable, which will give the chance to cluster your patients into different groups and deliver corresponding devices using the same, simple platform.

PharmTech: How does the manufacturing process for your DPI device differ from existing devices?

Trisoglio (Perlen): BLISTair offers lower manufacturing costs and simplified supply chains because the device is made on a blister machine rather than injection molding. The blister machine has two standard thermoforming processes, two sealing processes, and a punching unit. Cooled blister tools chill the product during the sealing process, so there is no concern about heat influence on the drug.

PharmTech: Is this device available globally?

Trisoglio (Perlen): BLISTair is available for the global market. Of course, we support our customers in the matter of registration and regulatory affairs as much as we can. Perlen can also act as a contract manufacturing organization for interested customers. The device is a true innovation that can open up new segments and markets for our customers that were blocked in the past due to investment costs [e.g., of injection molding] and to the spending capacity of patients in emerging markets.