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Battling ‘Operating Error’

Patient compliance can be an issue for any medicine. Even a simple tablet taken once a day can present adherence problems – patients might be worried about side-effects, have problems swallowing, or could simply forget to take them, especially if timing around food is important. Compliance becomes even more challenging for treatments that have more complicated regimens, such as having to take multiple doses a day, at specific times, and potentially having to avoid conflicts with other medications.

For inhaled treatments, these challenges can be exacerbated if there is a difficulty in using the device effectively, as a patient may think that they are taking their medicine, but in reality, the intended dose of drug is not reaching the lungs properly. The consequences of this, and for all issues around patient compliance, is that potential treatments for patients are stopped or altered because of a perceived lack of efficacy. For device developers, ensuring that a patient is able to use a device both effectively and consistently is vital to improve compliance.

A robust device development process should be followed, giving the opportunity for multiple assessments of patient interaction with the device, whether for a new device design, or applying a current design to a different target user population.

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Andreas Meliniotis is Director of Device Development at Vectura, and leads the engineering and device development group based in Cambridge, UK. With over 15 years’ experience at Vectura, he has led the design and development of several multi-dose dry powder inhalers as well as nebulisers and connected device technology. Prior to joining Vectura, Andreas worked for the Cambridge Design Partnership and The Technology Partnership developing glucose measurement devices and industrial printing technology respectively. Andreas is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and Chartered Manager, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK.
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