Med Device Monday: Bloom Inhaler

This month I'm featuring products that have not yet been FDA approved. I've written before about why I do what I do and why it's important to me to get innovative devices like these to market. Products like this are integral to my work, but moreover, they are interesting, innovative, and fill a need. Join me this month in exploring some exciting new devices that I hope to see on the market soon. Feel free to share more innovative devices in the comments!

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Last week we kicked off our month of 'not-yet-approveds' with Allotrope Medical's ureter detector. Today we're talking about something that feels a little more personal to me: Bloom, a credit card sized inhaler. If you're familiar with regular asthma inhalers, you know how bulky and inconvenient they can be. This is especially true if you're not carrying a bag, or are carrying a small one: Bloom literally fits in your wallet. 

Versus a traditional inhaler:

 Photo from wisegeek.com.

Photo from wisegeek.com.

Imagine being able to easily and unobtrusively carry an inhaler in your back pocket, or in a wallet or evening bag. What's more, it's affordable. According to Bloom's FAQ section, once FDA approves the device, it will be available for $40. 

Bloom is intended to be filled directly from a regular inhaler: you simply pop out the cartridge of your traditional inhaler, and pump it several times into the Bloom inhaler, up to six doses. (If you've ever used a perfume atomizer, you might be familiar with this method.) Astute observers will also note that Bloom's design calls for the open mouth inhale, versus the traditional method of sealing one's lips around a mouthpiece. Per Bloom, "The "Open Mouth Technique" is similar to using a breath spray. Press and inhale through the opening, just as you would with your current inhaler. This technique is clinically proven to be equally effective at delivering precise doses deep into the lungs." 

According to CBS News, the inspiration for Bloom came from creator James Cazzoli's personal experience: "My best friend growing up has severe asthma. It was horrifying to watch him gasp for breath on the way to the ER. My younger brother has asthma as well. I know how dependent asthmatics can feel to their medication. I'm passionate about healthcare and want to create something that truly improves the lives of people with asthma," he said. 

I can relate: I grew up suffering from asthma. I ended up in the hospital a few times as a kid. When I collapsed on the asphalt in first grade while running around playing tag with friends, my parents received a letter saying that I had to have my inhaler on me "at all times!" Later, as an athlete in high school, I always had one of those bulky inhalers jammed into my sock or strung around my neck with some string. Without fail, I seemed to have the worst asthma attacks when I forgot my inhaler, as I'd work myself into a fit of panic knowing I didn't have the security of my medicine. Fortunately, my asthma is under control now and I only need my inhaler two or three times a year—but when I need it, I really need it. Having the Bloom inhaler would have been a game changer for me as a kid (and yes, I've already reserved mine!).

Devices like these, which make carrying life-saving medicine more convenient, perfectly illustrate why I do what I do, and why I want to help more devices like this get to market.