Performance, Preference Vary for COPD Inhalers

Other - Annual Index
Wayne Kuznar

In a comparison of 4 inhalers used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), patients preferred the Genuair for its perceived ease of use. The Genuair also ranked highest in overall success rate, which was defined as patients’ ability to successfully open, prepare, close, and clean the inhaler.

Chris Hass, Usability Consultant, Bentley University Design and Usability Center, Waltham, MA, and colleagues compared the Genuair, Diskus, HandiHaler, and Respimat inhalers in 48 patients (mean age, 63.5 years) who had COPD, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.

The patients had 1 to 5 years’ experience with other inhalers before being enrolled in the study. Because the study focused on ease of use rather than on efficacy of the medication, no medication was used.

During 90-minute sessions, the researchers observed the patients as they assembled and activated the inhalers. The patients were asked to open the inhaler packaging, prepare a dose, mimic inhalation, close the inhaler, and clean the device. The researchers recorded errors in any of the processes, and between inhaler examinations they interviewed the patients about their inhaler experiences.

Patients also rated individual and overall device attributes on a 1-to-5 scale (worst to best). The ratings focused on key inhaler use steps and satisfaction with the inhalers. Patients then ranked the inhalers in order of overall preference.

The majority of the patients (94%- 100%) were able to open all the inhalers. Dose preparation was done successfully by 73% of patients with HandiHaler, by 69% of patients with Genuair, by 69% of patients with Diskus, and by 23% of patients with Respimat. Successful cleaning was achieved with Genuair, Respimat, and Diskus most of the time (98%- 100%) but only 52% of the time with HandiHaler, Mr Hass said.

Success with all inhaler steps was accomplished by 69% of patients with Genuair, by 67% with Diskus, by 35% with HandiHaler, and by 23% with Respimat.

The Genuair inhaler received the highest satisfaction rating in all the categories assessed—overall satisfaction, manipulation measures, interface measures, and all measures for inhaler

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Last modified: March 28, 2011
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