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Claims for Patent: 8,132,712

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Claims for Patent: 8,132,712

Title:Metered-dose inhaler
Abstract: A metered dose inhaler dose counter, the counter includes: an actuator; a rotary gear wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth; a driver for driving the rotary gear in a step-wise fashion in response to displacement of the actuator; a pawl that prevents reverse rotation of the rotary gear; and a display coupled to the rotary gear.
Inventor(s): Fenlon; Derek (Waterford, IE)
Assignee: Ivax Pharmaceuticals Ireland (Waterford, IE)
Application Number:12/532,762
Patent Claims: 1. A dose counter for a metered-dose inhaler, the counter comprising: an actuator; a rotary gear; a driver for driving the rotary gear in a step-wise fashion in response to displacement of the actuator, the rotary gear comprising a wheel mounted on a spindle which wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth around its periphery; a pawl to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear; and a display coupled to the rotary gear, the display having a visible array of incrementing integers on a surface thereof indexable by a single integer in response to each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear; wherein the pawl comprises at least two ratchet teeth each for engaging with the ratchet teeth of the wheel to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear, the at least two ratchet teeth being radially spaced such that one of the at least two ratchet teeth of the pawl engages with the ratchet teeth of the wheel following each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear.

2. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pawl comprises two ratchet teeth and no more.

3. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the pawl is mounted on a resilient support.

4. A dose counter as claimed in claim 3, wherein the resilient support is a resilient flange incorporated into the body of the dose counter.

5. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a control surface to regulate the position of engagement and disengagement between the driver and the wheel.

6. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the actuator is operable by linear displacement from a first position to a second position and back to the first position and wherein movement of the rotary gear occurs either during the displacement of the actuator from the first position to the second position or during the displacement of the actuator from the second position to the first position.

7. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the actuator comprises a spring-loaded plunger, the plunger being depressible against a return force of a spring of the spring-loaded plunger when the actuator is caused to deliver a dose of medicament.

8. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the driver comprises a ratchet drive pawl.

9. A dose counter as claimed in claim 8, wherein the ratchet drive pawl is in the form of a straddle drive in which an element that engages the ratchet teeth of the wheel is supported between a pair of spaced apart support arms.

10. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the display is an elongate counter tape on which a dose count is printed or written.

11. A dose counter as claimed in claim 10, wherein the counter tape is located on an indexing spool and the dose counter further comprises a stock bobbin to receive the counter tape as the indexing spool is advanced in a step-wise fashion.

12. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the actuator is adapted to engage with a rim of a medicament canister.

13. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wheel of the rotary gear has eight to fourteen ratchet teeth around a periphery of the rotary gear.

14. A dose counter as claimed in claim 13, wherein the wheel of the rotary gear has eleven ratchet teeth around its periphery.

15. A dose counter as claimed in claim 1, wherein the wheel of the rotary gear has a radius defined as the distance from the centre of the wheel to a tip of the teeth of 2.80+-0.05 mm and eleven ratchet teeth around its periphery, and the pawl comprises two ratchet teeth and no more which have a radial spacing of about 0.6 mm.

16. A metered dose inhaler comprising a medicament canister, an actuator body for receiving the canister and having a medicament delivery outlet, and the dose counter as claimed in claim 1.

17. A metered dose inhaler according to claim 16 wherein the actuator body comprises a smooth rounded sump.

18. The use of a dose counter for preventing miscounting in a metered dose inhaler, the dose counter comprising: an actuator; a rotary gear; a driver for driving the rotary gear in a step-wise fashion in response to displacement of the actuator, the rotary gear comprising a wheel mounted on a spindle which wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth around its periphery; a pawl to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear; and a display coupled to the rotary gear, the display having a visible array of incrementing integers on a surface thereof indexable by a single integer in response to each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear; wherein the pawl comprises at least two ratchet teeth each for engaging with the ratchet teeth of the wheel to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear, the at least two ratchet teeth being radially spaced such that one of the at least two ratchet teeth of the pawl engages with the ratchet teeth of the wheel following each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear.

19. The use of a dose counter for preventing undercounting in a metered dose inhaler, the dose counter comprising: an actuator; a rotary gear; a driver for driving the rotary gear in a step-wise fashion in response to displacement of the actuator, the rotary gear comprising a wheel mounted on a spindle which wheel having a plurality of ratchet teeth around its periphery; a pawl to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear; and a display coupled to the rotary gear, the display having a visible array of incrementing integers on a surface thereof indexable by a single integer in response to each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear; wherein the pawl comprises at least two ratchet teeth each for engaging with the ratchet teeth of the wheel to prevent reverse rotation of the rotary gear, the at least two ratchet teeth being radially spaced such that one of the at least two ratchet teeth of the pawl engages with the ratchet teeth of the wheel following each step of the step-wise rotary motion of the rotary gear.
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