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Claims for Patent: 6,032,666

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Claims for Patent: 6,032,666

Title: Inhalation device
Abstract:An inhalation device is described for use with a medicament pack in which at least one container for medicament in powder form is defined between two sheets peelably secured to one another. The device comprises means for peeling the sheets apart at an opening station to open the container; and an outlet, communicating with the opened container, through which a user can inhale medicament in powder form from the opened container.
Inventor(s): Davies; Michael Birsha (Ware, GB), Hearne; David John (Luton, GB), Rand; Paul Kenneth (Letchworth, GB), Walker; Richard Ian (Ware, GB)
Assignee: Glaxo Group Limited (London, GB)
Application Number:09/166,557
Patent Claims: 1. In combination, an inhalation device and a medicament pack received therein,

said medicament pack comprising an elongated strip formed from a base sheet having a plurality of recesses spaced along its length and a lid sheet peelably sealed in superposed relationship thereto to define a plurality of containers, each having therein inhalable medicament in powder form; and

said inhalation device comprising:

an opening station receiving a container of said medicament pack;

a peeler positioned to engage peelable sheets of a container which has been received in said opening station so as to peel apart the peelable sheets, opening the container; and

an outlet positioned in communication with an opened container through which a user can inhale the medicament in powder form from the opened container.

2. The combination of claim 1, wherein the strip is flexible and is received in the device in the form of a wound roll.

3. The combination of claim 2, wherein the lid sheet and base sheet of the strip have leading end portions which are not sealed to one another.

4. The combination of claim 2, wherein the device comprises at least one chamber which receives the elongated medicament pack before opening, and receives the base sheet and lid sheet after peeling apart.

5. The combination of claim 4, wherein at least one of the elongated medicament pack and base sheet are held in coiled form by resilient coil-formers.

6. The combination of claim 1, wherein the seal between the base and lid sheets extends over their whole width.

7. The combination of claim 6, wherein said peeler comprises a winder for at least one of the lid sheet and base sheet, at least one of said leading end portions being attached to said winder.

8. The combination of claim 1, wherein the device comprises a rotatable index wheel having recesses therein, the wheel engaging the medicament pack so that the recesses each receive a respective pocket.

9. The combination according to claim 8, wherein the said peeler comprises a lid driver, the index wheel and the lid driver being interconnected so that the rotation of one correlates with the rotation of the other.

10. The combination of claim 9 wherein the index wheel and lid driver are interconnected by a slipping clutch.

11. The combination of claim 10, wherein the slipping clutch comprises a first gear member which is movable with the index wheel and has a toothed surface, and a second toothed gear member which is movable with the lid driver and has a toothed surface in meshing engagement with the toothed surface of said first gear member, one of the toothed surfaces having a toothed portion which is movable back and forth with respect to the remainder of the toothed surface of which it is part.

12. The combination of claim 11, wherein the slipping clutch comprises a first clutch movable with the index wheel and a second clutch movable with the lid driver, one of the first and second clutch comprising an annular array of serrations and the other of the first and second clutch comprising a gripper which retains the serrations when less than a predetermined force is applied between the first and second clutches and which slips with respect to the serrations when a force equal to or greater than the predetermined force is applied.

13. The combination of claim 12, wherein the lid driver comprises a wheel on which the lid sheet is wound up, said wheel having a winding surface which decreases in diameter when tension in the lid sheet increases.

14. The combination of claim 13, wherein said wheel comprises a plurality of resiliently flexible arms each extending therefrom at an angle with respect to a radius.

15. The combination of claim 1, further comprising an indexer which engages between adjacent containers to maintain alignment between said outlet and an opened container.

16. The combination of claim 1, wherein the peeler comprises a pair of driving wheels which drivingly engage the lid sheet between them.

17. The combination of claim 16 wherein said driving wheels are toothed wheels having interengaging teeth.

18. The combination of claim 1, wherein the device comprises a guide for the moving the lid sheet and base sheet along separate paths at the opening station, the paths reuniting downstream of the opening station, and a driver located after the point where the paths reunite, said driver driving both the lid sheet and base sheet.

19. The combination of claim 18, wherein the said driver comprises a pair of toothed wheels having interengaging teeth.

20. The combination of claim 1, further comprising an indicator adapted to display to a user an instruction as to the next step once the preceding step has been performed.

21. A combination according to claim 20, wherein the indicator comprises an indicator member which carries a plurality of legends each constituting an instruction to the user, the indicator member being movable by a given step carried out to display the legend relating to the next step.

22. The combination of claim 1, further comprising an indexer which causes the containers to be oriented in the inhalation device so that medicament pack is in communication with said outlet.
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