US 3739950 A
Aerosol inhalation apparatus for the dispensing and administering of therapeutic agents or medicaments for inhalation therapy, which is constructed to provide a disposable unit of a small size suitable for carrying in a purse or pocket, the aerosol container being permanently packaged in a two-part housing or closure, one part being in the form of a cup member and the other part providing an actuator structure which includes tubular cap means carried by an actuator member secured to the dispensing valve stem of the valve mechanism provided on the aerosol container, this actuator member having a nozzle outlet in communication with the valve stem and further providing a mounting which permits movement of the cap means between a capping position in association with the cup member and a non-capping position in which it can be oriented to provide a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray as it leaves the nozzle outlet in the actuator member in response to valving movements of the actuator member and associated cap means.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Gorman AEROSOL INHALATION APPARATUS  Inventor: John F. Gorman, 3207 Fryman Road, Studio City, Calif. 91604  Filed: Apr. 5, 1971  Appl. No.: 131,263
 US. Cl. 222/182, 128/173, 128/208,
222/402.13  Int. Cl B6711 5/06  Field 01 Search ZZZ/402.24, 544,
Primary ExaminerSamuel F. Coleman Attorney-Robert M. McManigal June 19, 1973  ABSTRACT Aerosol inhalation apparatus for the dispensing and administering of therapeutic agents or medicaments for inhalation therapy, which is constructed to provide a disposable unit of a small size suitable for carrying in a purse or pocket, the aerosol container being permanently packaged in a two-part housing or closure, one part being in the form of a cup member and the other part providing an actuator structure which includes tubular cap means carried by an actuator member secured to the dispensing valve stem of the valve mechanism provided on the aerosol container, this actuator member having a nozzle outlet in communication with the valve stem and further providing a mounting which permits movement of the cap means between a capping position in association with the cup member and a noncapping position in which it can be oriented to provide a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray as it leaves the nozzle outlet in the actuator member in response to valving movements of the actuator member and associated cap means.
8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures AEROSOL INHALATION APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to the field of fluid dispensing. Heretofore, the development of aerosol medication spraying dispensers has in general proceeded along two relatively distinct concepts with respect to the manner of administering and directing the stream of aerosol containing the medicament into the mouth.
The aerosol dispensing apparatus as disclosed in the Maison, et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,001,524, is exemplary of one of the concepts, wherein the dispensing device embodied a separate structure which could be utilized by being attached to an aerosol dispensing container charged with the medicament. The dispensing device included an applicator member adapted to receive the valve and adjacent end of the aerosol container therein, and being provided with a passage or channel for conducting the released aerosol containing the medicament to a narrow discharge orifice or nozzle through which it was delivered into a hollow cylindrical delivery tube placed in the mouth of the user. A main distinguishing feature of this concept is that the delivery tube is provided with air inlet means at the innermost end of the delivery tube.
As exemplary of the other concept of development of aerosol dispensing apparatus, the Meshberg U.S. Pat. No. 3,184,115 discloses an aerosol dispensing package which embodies dispensing means of a construction very similar to that of the Maison, et al. patent described above, but which distinguishes therefrom primarily in that the delivery tube provides a directing chamber which is closed at its inner end, instead of being open, as in the case of the Maison, et al. structure.
Another heretofore known aerosol spray dispenser, which should be mentioned, is that exemplified by the Silson U.S. Pat. No. 3,107,670, which discloses an actuator that does not need to be removed and replaced in another position to operate it. The actuator of this patent consists of two partsa headed sleeve unit which sets on top of the aerosol container and receives the valve stem, the head of the sleeve being formed with a fine orifice through which the medicament is expelled at right angles to the stem, plus a rotating cover which pivots on two pins extending from the sides of the sleeve head. The side of the cover is formed as a split skirt so that in one position it may be closed around an actuator sleeve surrounding the aerosol container, and in another position operate for guidance of the spray from the can, as into the mouth when the medicament is directed toward oral administration. One objection to the embodiment as disclosed in this patent is that in the extended position of the cover, the split skirt leaves the bottom of the cover open so that the emitted spray may become diluted, or the amount of admitted air may vary depending upon the manner in which the end of the cover is inserted into the mouth of the user.
The present invention in its broad concept is of the general type of that disclosed in the Silson patent in that a permanently assembled dispenser is provided, and in a similar manner the present invention embodies a structure which overcomes the inherent disadvantages and difficulties of the prior known structures as exemplified by the above noted patents, and in addition envisions a structure which provides improved advantages and operational procedures which are not possible by the prior art structures.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to spray dispensers, and is more particularly concerned with improvements in aerosol inhalation apparatus for the dispensing and administering of therapeutic agents or medicaments for inhalation therapy.
Having in mind the inherent disadvantages of the presently known structures for inhalation therapy, it is one object of the present invention to provide a small permanently assembled throw-away or disposable aerosol inhalation apparatus which is pleasing in appearance and may be carried in the pocket or purse of the user, and easily and quickly made ready for use by simple manipulative movements of the parts into their operative use positions.
A further object of the invention is to provide apparatus of the herein described type which includes a preassembled structure wherein the parts are secured together in a manner to provide a self-contained assembly, and in which the parts cannot inadvertently be displaced or lost, in which case the use of the device could be impaired or rendered inoperative.
A further object is to provide improved apparatus for the dispensing of an aerosol medicament, wherein the aerosol container, valve, actuator mechanism and discharge nozzle of the actuator are completely enclosed, sealed and protected during periods of non-use of the device, but which may quickly :and easily be made ready for use.
A further object resides in the provision of a unique construction in an aerosol dispensing device, wherein the actuator parts are locked to the valve stem in such a manner as to prevent disassembly of the actuator.
Another object is concerned with the provision of a unique yoke structure in the means for mounting the actuator on the stem, this yoke being so designed that the actuator and mouthpiece will be rigidly supported in such a manner as to eliminate side pressures on the valve stem which could cause distortion and possible leakage.
Still another object is to provide in aerosol dispensing apparatus, a unique two-part housing in which a con tainer supporting cup and container cap are cooperatively associated in such a manner as to prevent inadvertent valve actuation which might cause discharge of the aerosol fluid while the apparatus was being carried in the pocket or purse.
It is also an object to provide an improved housing of unique design, such that in the closed position a cap housing part operates to maintain the inside of the mouthpiece free from dust and contamination.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will be brought out in the following part of the specification, wherein detailed description is for the purpose of fully disclosing several embodiments of the invention without placing limitations thereon.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring to the accompanying drawings, which are for illustrative purposes only:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of aerosol inhalation apparatus. embodying a construction according to the herein described invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view showing the relationship of the actuator member, with the housing cap member in closed or capping position;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view showing the cap member in its open or non-capping position for directing the spray discharge from the nozzle, portions being cut away to show the internal structure;
FIG. 4 is a partial sectional view, taken substantially on line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary rear elevational view for showing details of construction of the actuator member as seen from the rear end of the oriented cap member;
FIG. 6 is a similar view of a modified apparatus, portions being cut away to disclose certain internal features of construction; and
FIG. '7 is a fragmentary transverse sectional view, taken substantially on line 7--7 of FIG. 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring more specifically to the drawings, for illustrative purposes, the invention is shown in one arrangement as being applied to aerosol inhalation apparatus as generally indicated at 10. The apparatus is designed with a unique configuration so as to facilitate its being carried in ones pocket or a purse, and to this end embodies a two-part housing or enclosure which includes a cup member 11a and a cap member 11b. The housing or closure is made of suitable material and preferably is constructed of a conventional appropriate plastic material. The housing and associated actuating structure, as will hereinafter be described, are permanently connected with an aerosol container 12 containing the desired medicaments or therapeutic agents which are to be dispensed.
The container 12 is of bottle configuration and is constructed of suitable material, taking into account the type of medicament that is to be dispensed therefrom, and may be constructed of appropriate metallic material which will permit molding or otherwise forming the container with a small neck portion 13 which has a dispensing valve mechanism 14 mounted therein. The valve mechanism is conventional and includes a reciprocably mounted tubular valve stem 15 arranged to dispensingly discharge material from the aerosol container upon being depressed. As shown in FIG. 3, the cup member 11a receives the lowermost end of the aerosol container which may be anchored therein against removal.
An important feature of the invention resides in the provision of an actuating structure as generally indicated at 16, which is permanently mounted on and carried by the tubular valve stem 15. This actuating structure embodies the cap member 1 lb and actuator member 17 which serves as a pivotal mounting for the cap member and permits movement of the cap member between a capping position as shown in FIG. 1 in which the inner end of the cap member abuts the rim edge of the cup member, and a non-capping position as shown in FIG. 3, wherein the cap member is supported for orienting movement to a position in which the cap member provides a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray which is being dispensed from the aerosol container.
The transverse configuration of the housing is in general rectangular, except that the shorter end walls 18 and 19 are arcuate and extend between longer substantially parallel walls 20 and 21. These walls define an internal longitudinally extending cavity or bore 22 having the general configuration as just described.
The actuator member 17 is fabricated so as to longitudinally conform generally to the bore configuration and is of substantially cylindrical construction with its opposite ends forming rounded end portions 2323 so that transversely the bore 22 will be completely filled by the actuator member.
As best shown in FIG. 4, the rounded ends of the actuator member respectively are terminated in projecting circular pivots or trunions 2424, these trunions being slidably retained within longitudinally extending internal associated grooves 2525 formed in the end walls 18 and 19, respectively. As thus mounted, the actuator member 17 and cap member 11b are supported for relative movement, when the cap member is pivoted to a position in which it is axially aligned with the axis of the valve member, and in which position it may be moved between capping and non-capping positions.
Provision is made for terminating the pivotal movement of the cap member in the dispensing position as shown in FIG. 3. For this purpose, the actuator member 17 is provided with a skirt portion 26 which extends tangentially and has an abutting edge 27 which is arranged to engage the adjacent wall 21 and thus limit the swinging movement of the cap member 1112 about the pivots 2424. In order that the cap member 11b may be moved to a right angled position with respect to the axis of the tubular valve stem 15, the inner end edge of the side wall 21 is provided with an edge-opening slot 28 which is arranged to laterally receive the stem 15 therein, as shown in FIG. 3. In the position of the cap member 112), as shown therein, the cap member is frictionally retained by a detent cam projection 29 provided on a rib protrusion 30 on the actuator member 17. This protrusion extends into a longitudinally extending groove 31 formed in the inner surface of the wall 20. As the cam projection 29 becomes effective, it slightly deflects the adjacent wall portion and thus acts to frictionally retain the cap member in dispensing position. During axial movements of the cap member 11b between capping and non-capping positions, the rib protrusion traverses the groove 31 and thus additionally serves to guide and steady the movement of the cap member.
As best shown in FIG. 2, the outer end of the tubular valve stem 15 is seated in an opening 32 of the actuator member 17, and may be anchored by a suitable bonding material or by other means as hereinafter described. In this seated position, the valve member communicates with a right angled passage 33 which has its discharge end disposed to form a discharge nozzle 34 having an axis of discharge in right angled relation to the axis of the valve stem 15.
In the closed or capping position of the cap member 11b, as clearly shown in FIG. 2, the outermost end of the cap member extends over and seals the nozzle 34 so as to prevent the entrance or exposure to foreign matter. The cap member is releasably held in this position by means of a tapered finger 35 which projects from the edge of the cup member 11a and is adapted to enter the edge opening slot 28 in a manner to frictionally releasably retain the cap member in a capping position. Also, by virtue of the abutment of the cap member against the cup member, the actuator is shielded and prevented from being inadvertently pressed so as to discharge fluid inadvertently from the aerosol container while the apparatus is not being used.
The generally transversely elongated tubular congifuration of the cap member at its outermost end is particularly advantageous in the case of oral administration of the medicament, since the mouth may be more conveniently and properly formed around this type of configuration, than in the case of conventional types. It will also be evident that by utilizing an actuator member, which completely fills the inner end of the applicator member when it is oriented in a position of use as shown in H6. 3. Such a construction results in the dispensing of the medicament in an undiluted condition into the oral cavity of the user, and there will be no additional air aspirated directly into the cavity or bore of the cap member as the result of the flow of pressurized aerosol medicament from the nozzle 34. Also, the tubular cap member llb, in its position of use, provides a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray discharge which is devoid of openings which would permit the inflow of diluting ambient air as in forms of prior known devices as previously discussed.
Referring now to H68. 6 and 7, there is shown a modified structure which embodies the same operating advantages as the embodiment which has previously been described in detail. The modified form differs primarily with respect to the addition of a unique method of securing the actuator member to the valve stem, and in further modifications which will result in a further rigiditied support for the cap member in its noncapping position of use.
in the modified structure, there is provided a further member in the form of a yoke Zlti of a suitable plastic or other material which is fabricated to form an attaching cylindrical sleeve portion 37 which is adapted to tightly embrace and grippingly mount the yoke on the dispensing valve mechanism 114, and in its mounted position operatively locate upwardly projecting integrally formed spaced leg portions 3838 on opposite sides of the tubular valve stem H. The leg portions 38-38 are transversely of generally square section and have their confronting faces in guiding relation with a central web portion 39 which separates lateral internal cavity portions d ll-dd for the reception of the leg portions Ed-Eld. As shown in this form of the invention, the slot 2% is now enlarged as indicated at 28, and is made substantially rectangular so as to embrace peripheral portions of the legs 38-38 of the yoke. With this arrangement, the cap member in its open or uncapped position of use is materially rigiditied and held against movements which could apply side pressures on the stem with possible distortion and leakage.
As will appear in FIG. 6, the valve stem is in this case retained permanently seated in the opening 32 by means of a spring grip nut dli of generally U-shape configuration, and in which the bridging portion grips the valve stem l5, and the leg portion are provided with gripping barbs 42 for anchoring engagement with the central web portion 39.
From the foregoing description and drawings, it will be clearly evident that the delineated objects and features of the invention will be accomplished.
Various modifications may suggest themselves to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of my invention, and hence, I do not wish to be restricted to the specific forms shown or uses mentioned except to the extent indicated in the appended claims.
1. A fluid dispensing device, comprising:
a. a container for a pressurized fluid;
b. dispensing valve means including a valve stem with an actuator member mounted on its outer end for unitary reciprocating movement operable to open and close the valve, said actuator having a discharge passage for conducting released fluid to a bore which forms a spray nozzle with a discharge axis in right angled relation to said valve stem;
c. removable cap means for the container, including an elongate tubular member in surrounding relation to the actuator member; and
d. means connecting said actuator member and tubular member for relative movement between a capping position and a non-capping position, the actuator member in said capping position closing the outer end of the tubular member and in the noncapping position providing a pivot for orienting swinging movement of the tubular member to a position of use in which it provides a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray leaving the discharge nozzle, said tubular member having an edge notch at its inner end for laterally receiving the valve stem therein in said oriented use position.
2. A fluid dispensing device according to claim 1, wherein the connection between said actuator member and said tubular member includes end pivot members on the actuator member and associated internal longitudinally extending grooves on said tubular member within which the pivot members are shiftable during said movements of the tubular member between th capping and non-capping positions.
3. A fluid dispensing device according to claim 1, in cluding a cup member carried by said container cooperable with said tubular member :in said capping position to form a protective housing for said container.
4. A fluid dispensing device according to claim 1, including a projecting edge portion on said cup member adapted to enter said edge notch in said capping position to frictionally releasably retain said cup member and tubular member against separation.
5. A fluid dispensing device, comprising:
a. a container for a pressurized fluid;
b. dispensing valve means including a valve stem mounted in a projecting neck. portion of said container and having a control acutator member mounted on its outer end for unitary movement operable to open and close the valve, said actuator having a discharge passage for conducting released fluid to a bore which forms a spray nozzle with a discharge axis in right angled relation to said valve stem;
c. removable cap means for the container;
d. means mounting said cap means for movement between a capping position and a non-capping position for orienting movement to a position of use in which the cap means provides a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray leaving the discharge nozzle; and
. a yoke member having a sleeve portion embracing said valve means, and spaced integrally formed leg portions positioned on opposite sides of said valve stem and having surface portions in guiding engagement with said actuator member during its operative movements in said oriented position of use to open and close thevalve.
6. A fluid dispensing device according to claim 5, wherein the control actuator has internal cavities for respectively recieving and entrapping the leg portions of the yoke member, said cavities each having a wall portion in guiding engagement with the associated leg portion therein.
7. A fluid dispensing device according to claim 5, in which the cap means comprises a tubular member having an edge notch at its inner end for laterally receiving the leg portions of the yoke therein in said oriented use position. cm 8. A fluid dispensing device, comprising:
a. a container for a pressurized fluid;
b. dispensing valve means including a valve stem and a control actuator having an openingfor the endwise reception of the outer end of said valve stem for unitary reciprocating movement operable to removable cap means for the container; and means mounting said cap means for movement between a capping position and a non-capping position for orienting movement to a position of use in which the cap means provides a tubular directive outlet shield around the spray leaving the discharge nozzle.