Inhaler to treat lung infections


The first antibiotic inhaler device has been launched in the UK to treat chronic lung infections in adults and older children with cystic fibrosis (CF).

The TOBI Podhaler (pictured) from Novartis is a hand-held inhaler that delivers a new dry powder form of tobramycin to fight chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) lung infections, a common cause of death in people with CF.

The new device is estimated to save almost half an hour treatment time per day in people with CF over the age of 6, increasing their independence and quality of life.

CF affects 9,000 people in the UK. A life-threatening condition, it makes the lungs vulnerable to chronic infections.

Clinical studies have shown that treatment with tobramycin inhalation powder reduces treatment time by 72% compared with the nebulised drug.

Professor Stuart Elborn, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, commented: “People with CF have to endure a lengthy regimen of treatments and physiotherapy every day, so the time saved using tobramycin inhalation powder is significant.”

The new tobramycin inhalation powder has been produced using Novartis’ patented PulmoSphere technology. In trials, it was successfully inhaled in 5–6 minutes, whereas the nebuliser solution takes 20 minutes. For a twice-daily regimen, this saves approximately 28 minutes per day.

The dry powder inhaler is also less vulnerable to bacterial growth than the nebuliser, and needs no battery.

“We are proud to be launching TOBI Podhaler: a product that clearly demonstrates how we are applying innovative technology to better meet the needs of people with CF, helping them to lead independent and active lives,” said Dr Tim Cave, Medical Director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK.

Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis supplies a diversified portfolio of healthcare products including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and drug delivery devices.