US 3362530 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 9,1968 N. JOHNSON 3,
RECEPTACLE AND DISPENSER Filed March 4, 1966 Inventor WESLEY NEIL JOHNSON 3gW-Z. Y ,fl-Ekoyne United States Patent O F 3,362,530 RECEPTACLE AND DISPENSER Wesley Neil Johnson, Waukegan, lib, assignor to Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, 111., a corporation of Illinois Filed Mar. 4, 1966, Ser. No. 531,867 3 Claims. (Cl. 206-65) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A container having an off-center neck adapted to contain at least two resilient tubular sleeve members friction fitted within the container, the sleeve members being in turn adapted to carry a plurality of tablets or wafers in friction-fitting, coin-stacked engagement, such that only one sleeve member is accessible to removal from the container to dispense the tablets contained therein. This construction prevents the tablets or wafers from striking against each other or the interior of the container and thereby prevents damage to the tablets.
This invention relates to a container and dispenser combination for tablets or the like. More particularly, this invention is concerned with a receptacle adapted to contain a plurality of sleeve inserts which function as storage holders and dispensers for tablets of wafers.
Several varieties and shapes of containers are known to the art, each variety being formulated and shaped according to the particular use for which it is intended. In the drug industry, receptacles of various shapes and designs are particularly useful for containing medicaments to be sold to the consumer public. In this connection, many medicaments are manufactured and sold in a tablet or wafer form to be used for oral administration. Of these medicaments, many lend themselves to coating preparations whereby the medicament is coated with either a sugar or plastic film, packaged and sold for ultimate use in this form. Generally, no problem exists with respect to the packaging of these medicaments since the coating composition protects the drug core. Others, however, are more suitably adapted to be manufactured and sold in a dry wafer-type tablet. Illustrations of these medicaments are the common aspirin, pinicillin, vitamin tablets and other analgesic agents, among others. The medicament is formulated into an anhydrous powder and then compressed into a wafer shaped tablet. This form of medicament is desirable in many instances since it it dissolves quickly upon ingestion, releasing the drug into the blood stream for immediate use by the host.
The problems which have been encountered with this form of tablet are many. First, it is susceptible to breakage and crumbling during packaging and subsequent handling. Generally, these tablets are packed in loose relationship with respect to each other in a bottle or box, and sold to the consumer in this fashion. During the initial packaging procedure, shipment and the subsequent handling by the consumer, the tablets are caused to strike against each other and against the walls of the container, resulting in a substantial amount of breakage of the tablets. This is especially true where the nature of the packaging requires the consumer to tilt the container in order to withdraw tablets from within and then tilt the container back to its upright position for storage. Each time this operation is carried out, the tablets within the container are subjected to rough treatment inducing breakage and/or crumbling.
The above-described problem assumes greater importance where prescription drugs are involved. Each tablet constitutes a measured dosage of the medicament, and if the tablet breaks or crumbles, the unit dosage will be 3,362,530 Patented Jan. 9, 1968 diminished. The patient may nevertheless, continue to take the tablets as prescribed even though they are damaged, assuming that he has taken the prescribed dosage. The result is the consumption of less medicament than prescribed which can very possibly be detrimental to the patient.
There are also the attendant problems of convenience and contamination with loosely packed medicaments in a typical container. The consumer must either reach into the container with his hand or fingers to withdraw the desired number of tablets, or he must tilt the container, dumping out several tables from which he selects the desired number, returning the remainder into the container. In either event, access to the contents of the container is inconvenient and contamination of the remaining tablets is not only likely, but quite probable.
It is therefore, one object of this invention to provide a dispenser for tablets or the like which will prevent breakage or crumbling of the contents by holding each tablet or the like securely within said dispenser.
It is another object of this invention to provide a dispenser for tablets or the like which can accommodate a plurality of tablets in a manner suitable for storage While at the same time securing each of said tablets within the dispenser so that they are prevented from striking against each other when the dispenser is moved in any manner.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a tablet dispenser in combination with a container therefor which admits easy access to the contents of the container while at the same time providing ample storage area for the tablets or the like, and which simultaneously prevents damage to the stored tablets when the container and dispenser are moved in any manner.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a tablet dispenser in combination with a container therefor which admits easy access to each individual tablet within the dispenser while at the same time preventing contamination to the remainder of the contents.
Other objects and advantages can be better visualized by reference to the drawings appended hereto and the description following below. It is to be understood that this description illustrates only one embodiment of invention, and others skilled in the art may accordingly modify this embodiment as their particular needs dictate.
In general, the device comprehended by this invention consists of a container of predetermined interior diameter, having an elf-centered neck and adapted to contain two or more tubular sleeve members friction-fitted within the interior of said container, whereby only one sleeve member can be withdrawn from the container at a time. Each sleeve member is adapted to contain a plurality of tablets or the like, friction-fitted within the ambit of said sleeve in stacked relationship, whereby each tablet is rendered accessible to a user when the sleeve member is withdrawn from the container.
The container may be formulated from any suitable material such as glass, plastic or reinforced paper for example, depending upon the use to which the container is to be adapted. In the pharmacutical industry, glass containers are generally employed since they are economically manufactured and easily sterilized. However, it is to be understood that the particular material selected for the container is not considered to be a part of this invention.
The interior diameter of the container is variable since the container may be designed to carry two or more sleeve members. However, it is important that the neck of the containers be formed such that only one sleeve member is accessible to removal at a time, allowing the remainder of the interior area to function as storage space for the remaining sleeve members.
Each sleeve member comprises an elongated arcuately assaase shaped body wall having an open side delineated by opposed edges and is made from a plastic material such as polyethylene, polystyrene, or polyvinyl, etc. The plastic material must be firm enough to hold the tablets or wafers in friction-fitting engagement within the arcuately shaped body wall, but resilient enough to be stretched so that tablets can be withdrawn through the open side and then sprung back to its normal configuration to hold the remaining tablets firmly in position. The opposed edges are preferably flanged outward and away from the body wall to insure that the tablets will come into contact only with a smooth surface and avoid any contact with sharp edges or corners when being withdrawn from the sleeve dispenser.
The sleeve members and the container are so constructed that each sleeve is friction-fitted against the respective tubular body walls of the other sleeves and the interior walls of the container when the container accommodates its full complement of sleeve members. The one sleeve accessible to the open neck may be withdrawn from the container when manual force is applied to overcome the frictional forces, pulling the sleeve dispenser up through the neck. While the sleeve dispenser is partially withdrawn from the container, the desired number of tablets may be removed from the sleeve dispenser without disturbing or contaminating the remaining tablets. To reinsert the sleeve, manual force is applied to urge the sleeve back into the container. Of course, once the first sleeve dispenser has had its supply of tablets exhausted, it may be discarded leaving the remaining sleeves in the container which will no longer be friction-fitting within said container. If desired, the empty sleeve may be placed within the storage portion of the container by manually rearranging the sleeves and exposing a tablet-containing sleeve dispenser in the position accessible to the open neck. In this manner, a friction-fit is maintained for the benefit of the remaining sleeve members within the container.
Referring now to the appended drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of the container with the sleeve members contained within.
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the container with the cap removed.
FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 33 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 4 is a cutaway side elevational view of the container showing one sleeve member partially withdrawn therefrom.
FIGURE 5 is a side elevational view of one tubular sleeve member.
FIGURE 6 is a side elevational view of another tubular slee've member.
FIGURE 7 is a crosssectional view of a sleeve member taken along line 77 of FIGURE 6.
FIGURE 1 illustrates the preferred embodiment of the device It comprehended by this invention. The container 11 is ellipsoidal in shape and has a predetermined interior diameter and a neck 13 centered laterally of median line 1212. The neck 13 is ringed 32 (FIGURE 4) in order to engage a cap M which removably seals the container 11. A tubular sleeve member S is disposed immediately below the neck 13, containing a plurality of tablets 21 in stacked relationship which functions as a tablet dispenser. The sleeve S comprises a tubular body 15 having an open side delineated by opposed edges 16 and 23 (FIGURES 2, 3) of the tubular body wall 15'. Similarly, a second sleeve member S is disposed adjacent to the first sleeve member S within the container. The second sleeve member S' also comprises a tubular body 18 having an open side delineated by opposed edges 19 and 2! of the tubular body wall 18, and containing a plurality of tablets 21 in stacked relationship.
.Each sleeve member S and S is made from an inert resilient plastic material, such as polyethylene, polyvinyl or polystyrene. In the normal position, the tubular sleeve S or S has an interior diameter or 35 (FIGURES 5 and 6) equal to or slightly smaller than the tablet to be contained therein, and therefore capable of holding the tablets 21 securely in position. Since the tubular walls 15 and 1% are made of a resilient plastic material, the 0pposed edges 16, 23 and I9, 20 may be stretched in opposing directions, thus facilitating removal of one or more tablets from the tubular dispenser. After removal of the desired number of tablets, the tubular body walls 15 or 18 resume their normal position retaining the remaining tablets 21 in position. Since the tablets 21 may be extremely susceptible to breakage, the opposed edges 16, 23 and 19, 2% are preferably flanged outward from the body walls 15 and 18. This construction prevents the tablets 21 from contacting any sharp edges of the tubular sleeves S or S when being withdrawn through the open side.
In FIGURE 2, a top plan view of the device 10 is shown with the cap 14- removed. The first sleeve member S is shown disposed immediately below the open neck 22. The sleeve S is shown to have opposed edges 16 and 23 flanged outward from the body wall 15. Similarly, the second sleeve S has opposed edges i 20 flanged outward from the body wall 18. The sleeve S accessible to the open neck 22 is provided with a tab 17 pivotally mounted to the body wall which is used to pull the sleeve dispenser out of the container 11 exposing the tablets Zll for removal from the dispenser as is best illustrated in FIGURE 4. The tab 17 may be removably mounted on the sleeve S so that when the tablets 21 of that sleeve dispenser are exhausted, the tab 17 could be removed from the empty sleeve S, which is then placed in the storage area of the container 11, and snapped onto the second sleeve S, which is then inserted into the container such that it is accessible to removal through the open neck 22. If this construction is desired, each may be provided with an attachment point 25a (FIGURE 3) where the tab 17 can be attached to the body wall.
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view taken along line 3-3 of FIGURE 1 which illustrates the manner in which the sleeve dispensers S and S frictionally engage with each other and the container walls. The sleeves S and S, and the container 11 are so constructed that the removable sleeve S is in communication with the second S at point 23. Furthermore, each sleeve S and S communicates with the interior walls 11a of the container 11 at various points 29, 3t), This construction provides a frictionfit of the sleeves S and S within the container 11 so that the sleeve dispenser S can only be withdrawn from the container 11 by pulling on the tab 17 to overcome the frictional forces, providing easy access to the tablets 21 contained within said dispenser, as is best illustarted in FIG- URE 4. The withdrawn sleeve S may then be pushed back into the container lll and the container 11 resealed with the cap 14.
The dispenser sleeve members S and S are illustrated in FIGURES 5 and 6 respectively, which function as storage and dispensing tubes for the tablets 21. Sleeve S is shown to have an elongated tubular body wall 15 of a predetermined interior diameter and an open side extending along the vertical axis of the body wall 15, such that the open end is delineated by opposed flanged edges 16, 23 of the body wall 15. The open space between the flanged edges 16 and 23 is sufiiciently large such that tablets can be withdrawn through the open side. The resiliency of the material out of which the dispensing sleeve S is made, keeps the opposed edges 16, 23 in a position suflicient to hold the tablets 21 securely within the tubular sleeve S. A restraining tab 25 is integral with the uppermost end of the sleeve body wall 15 at a point opposite the open side and extending horizontally outward over the interior of the area bounded by the body wall 35 of the sleeve member S. This restraining tab 25 prevents the tablets 21 from spilling out through the top end of the dispensing sleeve S. In addition, bottom plates 33, 3d are provided at the lower end of the dispensing sleeve S to prevent the tablets 221 from falling out of the bottom end of the sleeve S. By having two bottom plates 33, 34 separated by an open space, the opposed edges 16, 23 may easily be stretched apart to remove the tablets 21 from within.
The second sleeve S is shown in FIGURE 6 to be constructed similarly to the first sleeve S, having an elongated tubular body wall 18 of a predetermined interior diameter 35 and an open side extending along the vertical axis of the body wall 18 delineated by opposed flanged edges 19, 20 of the body wall 18. This dispensing sleeve S may also be provided with a restraining tab 24 and bottom plates 33a, 34a to prevent the tablets 21 from spilling out either from the top or the bottom of the dispensing sleeve. FIGURE 7, clearly illustrates the construction of the bottom plates 33a, 34a separated by an open space 36 thereby facilitating stretching the opposed edges 19, 20 of the dispensing sleeve S.
Others may practice this invetnion in any of the numerous ways which will be suggested to one skilled in the art upon reading this disclosure. All such practice of the invention is considered to be covered hereby provided it falls within the scope of the following claims.
1. A tablet container and dispenser comprising, in combination, a glass container of predetermined interior diameter, having an open neck positioned laterally of the 1011- gitudinal median line of said container such that only a portion of the interior area of said container is immediately accessible to the open neck; a first tubular inert plastic sleeve member contained within said container having an elongated arcuately shaped body wall with an upper end and a lower end; said member having an open side delineated by opposed edges of the body wall, said edges being flanged outward from said body wall; a restraining tab integral with the upper end of the body wall at a point opposite the open side and extending horizontally outward over the area bounded by said body wall; base plates integral with the lower end of the body Wall, perpendicular to said wall and extending inwardly from a point near the flanged edge to a point opposite said edge; a second tubular inert plastic sleeve member contained within the portion of said container which is immediately accessible to said open neck friction-fitting against the interior of said container and the body Wall of said first sleeve member; said member having an elongated arcuately shaped body Wall with an upper end and a lower end; said member having an open side delineated by opposed edges of the body wall; said edges being flanged outward from said body wall; a restraining tab integral with the upper end of the body wall at a point opposite the open side and extending horizontally outward over the area bounded by said body wall; base plates integral with the lower end of the body wall, perpendicular to said wall and extending inwardly from a point near the flanged edge to a point opposite said edge, a vertical tab pivotally mounted at the upper end of said second sleeve member at a point immediately behind and adjacent to the restraining tab; and a cap adapted to removably seal said open neck, whereby tablets are frictionally engaged within the sleeve members in stacked relationship and are rendered accessible to a user by grasping and pulling the vertical tab of the second sleeve member, withdrawing said member from the container through the open neck and reinserting said member into the container after the desired number of tablets are removed through the open side of said member.
2. A tablet container and dispenser comprising, in combination, a container of predetermined interior diameter having an open neck; a tubular inert plastic sleeve member contained within said container having an elongated arcuately shaped body wall with an upper end and a lower end, said member having an open side delineated by opposed edges of the body wall, said edges being flanged outward from the body Wall; a restraining tab at the upper end of the body wall extending horizontally outward over the area bounded by said body wall and a base plate at the lower end of the body wall to support the tablets in the sleeve member from above and below; and a cap adapted to removably seal said open neck, whereby tablets are frictional ly engaged within the sleeve member in stacked relationship and are rendered accessible to a user by withdrawing said sleeve member from the container through the open neck and reinserting said member into the container after the desired number of tablets are removed through the open side of said member.
3. A tablet container and dispenser according to claim 2 which includes a vertical tab pivotally mounted at the upper end of the sleeve member to facilitate grasping and withdrawing the member from within the container.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,241,463 9/1917 Barnett 2064l.2 2,215,942 9/ 1940 Terrell 12057 2,367,019 1/1945 Haag 206-42 3,130,836 4/1964 Conrad 206- 3,162,301 12/1964 Cage 20642 FOREIGN PATENTS 779,379 l/1935 France.
WILLIAM T. DIXSON, IR., Primary Examiner.
THERQN E. CONDON, Examiner.