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Claims for Patent: 6,718,972

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Claims for Patent: 6,718,972

Title: Dose metering system for medicament inhaler
Abstract:A new and improved inhaler includes an accurate and consistent mechanical dose metering system that dispenses dry powdered medicament in discrete amounts or doses for patient inhalation, a pressure relief system that manages pressure within a medicament reservoir of the inhaler to ensure consistently dispensed doses, and a dose counting system indicating the number of doses remaining in the inhaler.
Inventor(s): O'Leary; David (Essex, GB)
Assignee: IVAX Corporation (Miami, FL)
Application Number:09/888,197
Patent Claims: 1. A medicament inhaler comprising: a mouthpiece for patient inhalation; a cover movable about a hinge to open and close the mouthpiece; a delivery passageway for directing an inhalation induced air flow through the mouthpiece; a channel extending from the delivery passageway; a reservoir for containing medicament, the reservoir having a dispensing port connected to the channel; a cup received in the channel and movable between the dispensing port and the delivery passageway; a cup spring biasing the cup towards one of the dispensing port and the passageway; a yoke successively movable between three positions and including a ratchet engaging the cup and preventing movement of the cup when the yoke is in one of the positions and allowing movement of the cup when the yoke is in another of the positions, the yoke further including cam followers; a two cams secured to the cover for movement with the cover about the hinge when the cover is moved to open and close the mouthpiece, and wherein each cam includes first, second and third cam surfaces successively spaced further from the hinge; and a spring biasing each of the cam followers of the yoke against the cam surfaces of the cams such that movement of the cover to open the mouthpiece causes the cam followers of the yoke to successively engage the first, second and third cam surfaces of the cams and move the yoke towards the hinge and successively between the three positions of the yoke, while movement of the cover to close the mouthpiece causes the cam followers of the yoke to return to the first cam surface of the cams and move the yoke away from the hinge and successively back through the three positions of the yoke.

2. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cup spring biases the cup towards the delivery passageway.

3. An inhaler according to claim 2, wherein the yoke further includes a push bar adapted to return the cup to the dispensing port of the reservoir upon movement of the yoke to one of the positions.

4. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the ratchet is adapted to prevent movement of the cup to the passageway when the yoke is in two of the three positions and allow movement of the cup when the yoke is in a third of the three positions, and the push bar is adapted to return the cup to the dispensing port of the reservoir upon movement of the yoke to a first of the positions.

5. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cams are each movable by rotation about the hinges.

6. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the reservoir includes a volume of dry powdered medicament.

7. An inhaler according to claim 1, further comprising a de-agglomerator between the delivery passageway and the mouthpiece.

8. An inhaler according to claim 7, wherein the de-agglomerator comprises: a swirl chamber extending from a supply port to an outlet port, wherein the supply port is connected to the delivery passageway and the outlet port connected to the mouthpiece; at least two diametrically opposed inlet ports at a top of the swirl chamber that extend substantially tangential to a circular cross-section of the swirl chamber; and radial vanes positioned at a top of the swirl chamber and sized such that at least a portion of breath-actuated air streams entering through the diametrically opposed inlet ports collide with the vanes.

9. An inhaler according to claim 1, further comprising: a pawl extending from the yoke; a dose counter including, a bobbin, a rotatable spool, a rolled ribbon received on the bobbin and rotatable about an axis of the bobbin, the ribbon having indicia thereon successively extending between a first end of the ribbon secured to the spool and a second end of the ribbon positioned on the bobbin, and teeth extending radially outwardly from the spool into a predetermined path of the pawl during movement of the yoke between the at least two positions, so that the spool is rotated by the pawl and the ribbon is advanced onto the spool during movement of the cup.

10. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein: the channel includes a pressure relief port; a conduit provides fluid communication between an interior of the reservoir and the pressure relief port; and the cup includes, a recess adapted to receive medicament when aligned with the dispensing port of the reservoir, a first sealing surface adapted to seal the dispensing port when the recess is unaligned with the dispensing port, and a second sealing surface adapted to seal the pressure relief port of the channel when the recess is aligned with the dispensing port and unseal the pressure relief port when the recess is unaligned with the dispensing port.

11. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cams each include an opening for allowing the hinges to pass therethrough and be received in first recesses of the cover.

12. An inhaler according to claim 11, wherein the cams each include bosses extending outwardly and received in second recesses of the cover.

13. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cam surfaces of the cams are arranged and adapted such the cam followers of the yoke successively engage the first cam surfaces when the cover is closed, the second cam surfaces when the cover is partially opened, and the third cam surfaces when the cover is fully opened.

14. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the first cam surfaces of the cams are spaced further from the hinges than the second and the third cam surfaces, while the second cam surfaces are spaced further from the hinges than the third cam surfaces.

15. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cams comprise discrete pieces assembled to the cover.

16. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the yoke further includes a push bar adapted to return the cup to the dispensing port of the reservoir upon movement of the yoke to one of the positions and the ratchet is adapted to be resiliently moveable out of the way of the cup when the cup is returned by the push bar.

17. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the yoke further includes a push bar adapted to return the cup to the dispensing port of the reservoir upon movement of the yoke to one of the positions and the ratchet is mounted on a flexible flap and is shaped to allow the cup to depress and pass over the ratchet when the cup is engaged by the push bar.

18. An inhaler according to claim 1, wherein the cup is sized to hold a predetermined dose of dry powdered medicament when filled.

19. An inhaler according to claim 1, further comprising a resiliently collapsible bellows operatively connected to the reservoir for pressurizing an interior portion of the reservoir upon being collapsed, and wherein the yoke is arranged to collapse the bellows upon the cam followers of the yoke engaging the second and the third cam surfaces of the cams.

20. An inhaler according to claim 19, wherein the yoke is arranged to expand the bellows when the yolk moves back to the first position.
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