Title:
ITEM DISPENSER WITH MULTI-SECTION WELLS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A solid dosage form dispenser, and methods for its manufacture. The dispenser may include at least one well having a first section and a second section; at least one well support configured to support the well; and an enclosure element for enclosing the well and the support. The first section may be deeper than the second section; and the well may be configured to dispense one solid dosage form.



Inventors:
Angelucci, Karen (Bridgeport, PA, US)
Mcquillan, Juliet (Wilmington, DE, US)
Johnson, Brian D. (Landenberg, PA, US)
Forehand, Michael L. (Avondale, PA, US)
Whitney, Dean (Newton, MA, US)
Bates, Peter K. (Framingham, MA, US)
Mudd, Alan (Beverly, MA, US)
Jackson, Janice (Chaddsford, PA, US)
Trapani, David (West Chester, PA, US)
Gulfo, Adele (New York, NY, US)
Monday, Kathy (Glen Mills, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/120310
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/14/2008
Assignee:
AstraZeneca AB (Sodertalje, SE)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/532
International Classes:
B65D83/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PAGAN, JENINE MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Weiss & Arons LLP (Spring Valley, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A solid dosage form dispenser comprising: a solid dosage form well suspended from a well support member; and a peelable lid affixed to the well support member and covering the well, the peelable lid including a handle for peeling the lid off of the well support member to open the well.

2. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 1 wherein the handle is an extension of the lid.

3. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 2 wherein the extension is folded onto the lid.

4. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 1 wherein the handle comprises a loop for grasping by a user of the dispenser.

5. The solid dosage form of claim 1 wherein the well includes a first section and a second section, the second section being deeper than the first section; a fulcrum at a junction between the first section and the second section; and a lid for enclosing the well; wherein, when a first end of a solid dosage form is retained in the first section of the well, a second end of the solid dosage form is suspended above a base of the second section.

6. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 5 wherein, when a solid dosage form is present in the well and the lid seals the well, the lid retains the first end of the solid dosage form in the first section.

7. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 5 wherein, when a solid dosage form is present in the well and the lid is removed from the well: the second end of the solid dosage form descends in the second section of the well; and the first end of the solid dosage form rises in the first section of the well.

8. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 7 wherein: the well comprises a rim; and, when the lid is removed from the well, a portion of the first end of the solid dosage form rises above the rim.

9. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 8 wherein: the rim has a first width at the first section; the rim has a second width at the second section; and the first width is greater than the second width.

10. A solid dosage form dispenser comprising: at least one well having a first section and a second section, the second section being deeper than the first section; a fulcrum at a junction between the first section and the second section; and a lid for enclosing the well; wherein, when a first end of a solid dosage form is retained in the first section of the well, a second end of the solid dosage form is suspended above a base of the second section.

11. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 10 wherein, when a solid dosage form is present in the well and the lid seals the well, the lid retains the first end of the solid dosage form in the first section.

12. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 10 wherein, when a solid dosage form is present in the well and the lid is removed from the well: the second end of the solid dosage form descends in the second section of the well; and the first end of the solid dosage form rises in the first section of the well.

13. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 12 wherein: the well comprises a rim; and, when the lid is removed from the well, a portion of the first end of the solid dosage form rises above the rim.

14. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 13 wherein: the rim has a first width at the first section; the rim has a second width at the second section; and the first width is greater than the second width.

15. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 13 further comprising a handle that extends from the rim.

16. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 15 wherein the handle is folded onto the lid.

17. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 10 wherein the handle comprises an aperture for grasping by a user of the dispenser.

18. A solid dosage form dispenser comprising: at least one well having a first section, a second section comprising a base, and a third section, the second section being between the first section and the third section; and a well support member comprising a top plane, the top plane of the well support member being substantially parallel to the base of the second section; wherein a line intersecting the junction of the well support member and the first section and the junction of the first section and the second section forms an angle of between 35 degrees and 65 degrees with respect to the base of the second section, and a line intersecting a junction of the well support member and the third section and a junction of the third section and the second section forms an angle of between 35 degrees and 65 degrees with respect to the base of the second section.

19. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 18 further comprising a lid that seals the well.

20. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 19 wherein the lid comprises a handle.

21. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 20 wherein the handle is folded onto the lid.

22. The solid dosage form dispenser of claim 20 wherein the handle comprises an aperture for grasping by a user of the dispenser.

Description:

BACKGROUND

This application relates to an item dispenser in which items are contained in wells and may be extracted from the wells for use by an individual. In particular, the application relates to a dispenser for pills, compacts, capsules (which may contain a solid, a granulated powder, a gel, a liquid or any other suitable substance) and/or caplets, which may be referred to herein as “solid dosage forms.”

Individuals with limited or compromised dexterity, with limited or compromised faculties, or with a combination thereof, may have difficulty administering solid dosage forms to themselves. Solid dosage forms are often provided in bottles in which many doses are stored in an aggregate. Whereas such bottles may have sufficiently wide mouths to provide easy access to multiple fingers, the doses must be administered individually. Also, such aggregates do not provide a means of keeping track of dosing information.

In contrast, individualized packaging, such as blister packs or egg-carton style dispensers, which may include partitions for storing different dosage forms for administration at different times, often require dexterity to extract the dosage forms and may provide for only limited access by an individual's fingers.

It would be desirable, therefore, to provide apparatus and methods for dispensing solid dosage forms in a manner that facilitates extraction of solid dosage forms.

It also would be desirable, therefore, to provide apparatus and methods for dispensing solid dosage forms in a manner that facilitates compliance with a therapeutic regimen.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide apparatus and methods for dispensing solid dosage forms in a manner that facilitates extraction of the solid dosage forms. A solid dosage form dispenser, and methods for manufacturing the dispenser, are provided in accordance with the principles of the invention.

A solid dosage form dispenser according to the invention is provided. The dispenser may include a solid dosage form well suspended from a well support member. The dispenser may also include a peelable lid affixed to the well support member and covering the well. The peelable lid may include a handle for peeling the lid off of the well support member to open the well.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of enclosure apparatus in accordance with the principles of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of dispensing apparatus, inside the enclosure apparatus of FIG. 1, in accordance with the principles of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the dispensing apparatus of FIG. 2 inside a different embodiment of the enclosure apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view such as the view along line 3-3, shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the enclosure apparatus of FIG. 1 when the enclosure apparatus is open;

FIG. 6 is a back perspective view of other apparatus in accordance with the principles of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a partial front perspective view of selected apparatus in accordance with the principles of the invention;

FIG. 8 shows a side view of another embodiment of a well according to the invention; and

FIGS. 9A and 9B show right and left perspective views, respectively, of the well shown in FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Solid dosage form dispensers and methods for manufacturing the same are provided. An exemplary dispenser may include a plurality of wells for holding the solid dosage form. Each well may include a first section and a second section. In certain embodiments of the invention, each well may include a peelable lid.

Each well may be configured to hold the dosage form and provide surfaces to cause a portion of the dosage form to rise out of the well when an individual peels the lid off of the well. The first section of each well may be deep enough to contain the dosage form and may have a base that slopes upward toward a second section which may be shorter, wider and shallower than the first section.

The reduced length, the extra width and the reduced depth of the second section may cause a portion of the pill to rise above the plane of the well support member following the removal of the peelable lid. After the peelable lid is removed, and a portion of the dosage form rises above the well support member, an individual may be assisted in at least two ways as he attempts to grasp the dosage form with his fingers. First, a portion of the dosage form is now above the well support member and may be grasped without having to reach inside the well. Second, even if the individual may have to reach inside the well, the greater width of the second section allows an individual to grasp the raised portion of the dosage form more easily because of the greater clearance about the raised portion of the dosage form.

The dispenser may include one or more sheets of the wells. The sheets may be provided in an enclosure, which may be hinged such that the wells may be enclosed for containing the dosage forms or exposed for dispensing the dosage forms.

FIGS. 1-7 show illustrative embodiments and features of the invention. FIG. 1 shows illustrative clam-shell enclosure 100, which may include half-shell 102 and half-shell 104, which may be joined at a hinge (not shown). The hinge may be a pin hinge, a living hinge or any other suitable hinge. Half-shell 102 and half-shell 104 may include, as appropriate, receptacles 108 and 110 and corresponding pressure grips 112 and 114, which may include tabs 116 and 118, respectively, for snap-locking enclosure 100 in a closed configuration. An individual may depress grips 112 and 114 to release tabs 116 and 118, respectively, from receptacles 108 and 110.

FIG. 2 shows enclosure 100 in an open configuration, in which half-shells 102 and 104 are hingedly attached by hinge 105. Enclosure 100 may also include pressure grip 120, tab 122 and receptacles 124, which correspond to pressure grip 112, tabs 116 and receptacles 108.

FIG. 2 also shows wells 124 supported by well support member 126. In some embodiments of the invention, each of the wells is configured to dispense one solid dosage form. Lids of the wells may be formed from flap 128 and base 125. Base preferably seals the dosage form within the package. Flap 128 may be an extension of base 125. Each one of the lids may preferably correspond to each of wells 124.

Each base may be fixed to well support member 126. Each lid may also bend at the juncture between base 125 and flap 128. Accordingly, each flap 128 may extend back at least partially over the well. Free end 128 is movable and may be pulled to sever base 125 from the package, thereby providing access to a solid dosage form stored in the well.

Windows 130 may be present in one or more of flaps 128 to provide visual information about the contents of the corresponding well. Flaps 128 (or, alternatively, base 125) may be labeled with the days of the week, as shown, or with any other suitable information. Windows 130 may also allow an individual to see through flap 128 and base 125 (assuming an embodiment of the invention wherein base 125 is formed from a see-through material).

Well support member 132 may be present underneath well support member 126 and may support an additional set of wells for dispensing solid dosage forms.

FIG. 3 shows illustrative enclosure 300 with transparent half-shells 302 and 304 closed. Half-shells 302 and 304 correspond to half-shells 102 and 104 (shown in FIG. 1), but may be transparent to provide visual information about the contents of wells 124. FIG. 3 shows well support member 132 underneath well support member 126.

FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view such as the view of enclosure 300 taken along line 3-3 (shown in FIG. 3), but including half-shells 102 and 104, which are not transparent, instead of transparent half-shells 302 and 304. FIG. 4 shows that well support member 126 may include well 124 (also shown in FIGS. described above) and reinforcement structure 134. Other reinforcement structures may be present elsewhere in well support member 126, such as between wells 124.

Well support member 132 may include solid dosage form well 424 and reinforcement structure 434. Other reinforcement structures may be present elsewhere in well support member 132, such as between wells 434. Well support member 126 may include frame 402 and well support member 132 may include frame 404. Extension 403 of frame 402 may be present to secure frame 402 to enclosure 100 adjacent hinge 105. Extension 403 may be fastened to enclosure 100 by any suitable method. Slots 406 and 410 may be present, respectively, above well support member 126 and below well support member 132. Patient information articles 408 and 412 may be present in slots 406 and 410, respectively. Flaps 128 and 426 and bases 125 and 425 may be seen above wells 124 and 424, respectively. Fulcrums 461 and 427 may be seen in wells 124 and 424, respectively.

FIG. 4 shows that well 124 includes sections 450 and 460. Section 450 includes sloped base 452. Section 450 is deeper and shorter than section 460. Section 460 includes sloped base 462. Section 450, together with section 460, is configured to contain a solid dosage form.

Upon removal of flap 424, Sloped base 452 encourages the solid dosage form to pivot on fulcrum 461. As a result, a portion of the solid dosage form drops to rest in well bottom 454, which raises a portion of the solid dosage form out of section 460, and over the top plane of well support member 132. The raising of a portion of the solid dosage member out of section 460 and above the top plane of well support member 132 may facilitate manual acquisition of the solid dosage form by the user. For example, when an individual attempts to extract the solid dosage form from section 450, he can grab the exposed and raised portion of the solid dosage form.

In some embodiments of the invention, section 460 may be wider in the transverse (“T,” see arrow) direction than section 450. The width of section 460 may provide additional access to the solid dosage form. The individual is further enabled to grasp the raised portion of the solid dosage form by the relatively greater width of section 460 with respect to the T direction. Moreover, the solid dosage form is stabilized in position by the narrow width of section 460 so the solid dosage form does not move about substantially when the individual is grasping the solid dosage form.

Top wall 464 of sloped base 462 may provide resistance to the solid dosage form as the user moves the solid dosage form along sloped base 462. This reduces the likelihood that the user will push the solid dosage form out of well 124 before gaining a grip on the solid dosage form. (If the solid dosage form is pushed out of well 124 before the user gains a grip on the solid dosage form, the solid dosage form may be dropped.)

As described above, once flap 424 has been removed, the solid dosage form may then be grasped between the fingers and the thumb. FIG. 4 shows that top wall 464 is offset from front edge 490 of frame 402 by angle A, whereas sloped base 462 is offset from front edge 490 by angle B. Angle A is smaller than angle B and therefore allows the user to coordinate the fingers and thumb in close proximity to each other and more easily manipulate the solid dosage form.

Some embodiments of the invention may include a blister-pack dispenser with wells that have features corresponding to those of well 124 (shown in FIG. 2).

FIG. 5 shows enclosure 100 with half-shells 102 and 104 opened about hinge 105, which is illustrated in FIG. 5 as a living hinge.

FIG. 6 shows illustrative frame 604, which includes extension 603. Frame 604 may operate to support wells such as 124 (see FIG. 1) as part of a well support member such as 126 or 132 (see FIG. 2, e.g.). Frame 604 may be integral to the well support member or may be an attachable component of the well support member. Frame 604 is configured for attachment to the well support member. Extension 603 is configured for attachment to an enclosure such as 100, e.g.

FIG. 7 shows an illustrative arrangement of wells 724 arranged in well support member 780, which may be a sheet that may be attachment to frame 704 via studs 782 and corresponding holes 784 or by any suitable method. Well support member 780 is shown as being substantially transparent, so features interior to frame 704 are visible through well support member 780. Studs 786 may extend downward from frame 704 to fasten frame 704 to plate 788. Plate 788 may support bosses such as bosses 790. Bosses 790 may extend upward from plate 788 and may provide mechanical stability to frame 704 and well support member 780. It will be understood that the number and arrangement of wells and bosses shown in FIG. 7 are illustrative and that any suitable number of wells, any suitable number of bosses and any suitable pattern of wells and bosses may be present in embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of a well 800 according to the invention. Well 800 may include preferably two ramp sections 802 and 803. Because the friction between a finger and the solid dosage form 804 is greater than the friction between the solid dosage form and the blister material, the pill may slide up either one of ramp sections 802 or 803 in response to pressure along the longitudinal axis of the solid dosage form. When the pill has slid up either ramp, the portion of the pill that is above the well support member 806 is easy to grasp.

The angles T1 and T2 representing the angles formed between the base of well 800 with respect to the bases of ramp sections 802 and 803, respectively, may preferably be between about 35 to about 65 degrees. Angle T1 may be taken from an angle formed by the substantially flat base of well 800 with respect to a line formed from point P1—i.e., the point of intersection of ramp section 802 with the base of well 800—to point P2—i.e., the point of intersection of ramp section 802 with well support member 806. Angle T2 may be taken from an angle formed by the substantially flat base of well 800 with respect to a line formed from point P3—i.e., the point of intersection of second ramp section 803 with the base of well 800—to point P4—i.e., the point of intersection of ramp section 803 with well support member 806.

While angles T1 and T2 appear from FIG. 8 to be equal, nevertheless, it should be noted that angles T1 and T2 may be different in order to make solid dosage form 804 more accessible from a selected one of ramp sections 802 and 803.

FIGS. 9A and 9B show perspective views of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 8. FIGS. 9A and 9B also include ramp sections 902 and 903, solid dosage form 904, and well support member 906. As it can be seen from FIGS. 9A and 9B, solid dosage form 904 is capable of being slid up either of ramp sections 902 or 903.

Thus, systems and methods for providing item dispensers with multi-section wells according to the invention have been provided. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration rather than of limitation, and the present invention is limited only by the claims which follow.