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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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AirFluSalNovember 23 2015

Sandoz has launched its AirFluSal Forspiro (500mcg fluticasone propionate / 50mcg salmeterol) twice-daily inhaler into the UK market.

The inhaler is indicated for the symptomatic treatment of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with a FEV1 <60% predicted normal (pre-bronchodilator), a history of repeated exacerbations and who have significant symptoms despite regular bronchodilator therapy.

It enters the market where GlaxoSmithKline’s Seretide Accuhaler has been the only branded product containing fluticasone propionate and salmeterol xinafoate. However, Seretide Accuhaler is available in a range of doses and which is also indicated for use in asthma.

“The combination of fluticasone propionate and salmeterol is a long established and proven treatment for the symptomatic treatment of COPD and in addition to being 20% cheaper than Seretide Accuhaler, AirFluSal is delivered via Forspiro, a new device that has been developed with usability testing from the intended patient population,” says Novartis UK, a sister company to Sandoz.

The Forspiro inhaler has been developed to address poor inhaler technique in patients, as up to 94% of people are said not to use their inhaler device correctly. “Developed in collaboration with patients, the Forspiro device provides several features that enable the device to be easy-to-use and provide feedback mechanisms to offer the patient reassurance that the dose has been administered, such as:

  • a dose counter to see the remaining available doses
  • a transparent feedback window showing the empty blisters which enables patients to see they have taken each dose
  • tear off foil strip enabling patients to ensure they have taken two doses per day
  • a simple lever arm to load the dose.”

The product has already been launched into 21 other countries, and has been approved in more than 30 countries. Sandoz partnered with UK-based Vectura, a respiratory product development company, in the design and development of the product.

“In 2010, there were 115,000 emergency COPD-related hospital admissions in England costing the NHS £287m. Many of these hospital admissions could be prevented by reducing the risk of exacerbations through improving treatment adherence to inhaler medicine,” says Novartis UK.


Sandoz announcement

Novartis UK announcement

Vectura marketed and licensed products

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