Sandoz has launched in the UK a new patient-centric inhaler for the symptomatic treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

AirFluSal Forspiro contains a combination of the corticosteroid fluticasone propionate and the long-acting beta-2-agonist salmeterol, a long-established and proven reliever of COPD symptoms. But the treatment is delivered via Forspiro, a new device that has been developed “with patients for patients” to ensure that it is intuitive and easy to use, “which could lead to improved patient outcomes through improved treatment adherence”.

Up to 94% of COPD patients are using their inhalers incorrectly and many are missing doses, which can result in increased rates of morbidity, hospitalisations and possibly mortality, as well as reduced quality of life. Sandoz’ device offers feedback mechanisms that guide patients through the correct handling technique as well as a dose counter, potentially helping to improve management of their disease, the firm said.

COPD is the second most common cause of emergency admissions to hospital and one of the most costly inpatient conditions to be treated by the NHS, with the bill in England alone fast approaching £300 million a year. However, many of these hospital admissions could be prevented by reducing the risk of exacerbations through improving treatment adherence to inhaler medicine.

“It is recognised by healthcare professionals that lack of adherence to treatment through incorrect inhaler use is a serious problem when treating patients with COPD,” said Richard Russell, consultant respiratory physician, Southern Healthcare NHSFT, Lymington Hospital, Hampshire. “Any new device that could help improve treatment adherence will be warmly received by the medical community.”

AirFluSal Forspiro is also 20% cheaper than GlaxoSmithKline’s rival Seretide Accuhaler, Sandoz noted.