|Publication number||US3904075 A|
|Publication date||Sep 9, 1975|
|Filing date||Mar 29, 1974|
|Priority date||Mar 29, 1974|
|Also published as||DE2511582A1|
|Publication number||US 3904075 A, US 3904075A, US-A-3904075, US3904075 A, US3904075A|
|Inventors||Richardson James E, Swain Stephen C|
|Original Assignee||Medical Dispenser Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (21), Classifications (14)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,904,075
Richardson et al. Sept. 9, 1975 [5 TABLET DISPENSER 3,437,236 4/!969 Huck 221/86 3,65 1 .927 3/1972 Richardson ct al 206/534  lnventors: James E. Richardson, Weston;
Stephen swam westpon both of Primary ExaminerLeonard Summer Conn Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Robert H. Epstein  Assignee: The Medical Dispenser Company,
Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  ABSTRACT 2 Filed; Man 29, 197 A tablet dispenser is formed of a housing including a body having a dispensing opening therein and a cover [2 H Appl' 455379 pivotally connected with the body and carrying an ejector tab aligned with the dispensing opening, and a 52 us 3 H 221 5; 1 1 121; 20 531; tablet package including a plurality of tablets at least 206/534; 221/86 partially enclosed by a frangible material is disposed in 51 int. (:1. B65D 83/04 the y A tablet to be dispensed is moved between  Field of Search 206/531, 534, 539-, 22l/86, the ejector tab and the dispensing p ng; n 221/33 5 order to dispense the tablet, a user need only squeeze the housing to move the body and cover relative to  R f r Ci d each other such that the ejector tab engages the tablet UNITED STATES PATENTS to rupture the frangible material and permit the tablet to drop through the dispensing opening. 3,279,65l 10/1966 Thompson 221/88 3,397,671 8/l968 Hartman et al 1 [6/121 20 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED SEP 1975 SHEET 1 BF 3 PATENTED 975 sum 2 o 3 FIG. 4
O 3 9 5 m 8 2 M 2 7 6 8 TABLET DISPENSER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the invention The present invention pertains to the dispensing of tablets and, more particularly, to a tablet dispenser fa cilitating sequential dispensing of pharmaceutical tablets.
2. Discussion of the prior art There have been many attempts in the prior art to provide tablet dispensers facilitating the sequential dispensing of pharmaceutical tablets in chronological or der, as exemplified by U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,437,236, 3,450,252, 3,533,371, 3,557,747, 3,570,707 and 3,572,282. Such tablet dispensers are primarily utilized to dispense birth control or oral contraceptive preparations in that such preparations are required to be taken on a daily regimen. The prior art tablet dispensers, as exemplified above, have suffered from one or more of the disadvantages of utilizing a relatively large number of intricately formed parts, therefore, increasing cost of manufacture, requiring cumbersome manipulation of tablets by the user and having complex indicia viewing structure to permit the user to determine whether there has been any variation from the daily regimen.
In order to facilitate placement and refilling of tablets in dispensers, it has been proposed to utilize tablet packages in the form of blister packs" wherein the tablets are supported by a frangible material, such as aluminum foil. U.S. Pat. No. 3,279,651 is exemplary of a tablet dispenser utilizing a tablet blister pack," the tablets each being dispensed through a corresponding opening in the housing of the dispenser by relative rotation of parts of the housing. The rotation required for dispensing increases the cost of manufacture of the tablet dispenser and presents a problem with respect to the displaying of indicia to a user to indicate a daily regimen. In the tablet dispenser of U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,927, tablet packages in the form ofblister packs are used, and tablets are dispensed by pressure applied by the finger of a user to force the tablets through annularly arranged apertures in the dispenser housing. The tablet dispenser of this patent, thus, does not require rotation for dispensing; however, the housing must be opened in order to dispense a tablet. Accordingly, while the prior art has recognized the advantages of the use of tablet blister packs, the prior art tablet dispensers for use therewith have not provided simplified dispensing and inexpensive manufacture.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is generally summarized in a tablet dispenser including a housing having a body with a dispensing opening therein and a cover extending over the body carrying an ejector tab spaced from and aligned with the dispensing opening, the ejector tab being movable toward the dispensing opening, and a tablet package having a plurality of tablets each at least partially enclosed by a frangible material, the tablet package being disposed in the body with the tablets movable in the space between the ejector tab and the dispensing opening whereby the tablets can be dispensed through the dispensing opening by moving the ejector tab to engage the tablets and rupture the frangible material.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a tablet dispenser overcoming the disadvantages of the prior art which is utilized with refillable tablet packages, preferably of the blister pack type, and has simplified housing structure.
Another object of the present invention is to permit dispensing of tablets by merely squeezing parts of a housing to rupture or tear a frangible material at least partially enclosing a tablet therein to permit the tablet to drop from the housing.
A further object of the present invention is to permit observation of time related indicia associated with each tablet in a tablet package and dispensing of the tablets through the same opening in a housing of a tablet dispenser such that a user can easily determine which tablets have been dispensed in accordance with a time related regimen.
The present invention has an additional object in the dispensing of a tablet from a tablet dispenser by utilizing a tab carried on a cover pivotally connected with a body to engage tablets disposed in the body and rupture a frangible material at least partially enclosing the same such that the force required for ejection of a tablet is reduced and the tablets can be dispensed without requiring direct pressure on the tablets from a finger of a user or inverting of the tablet dispenser.
Yet another object of the present invention is to utilize a single opening in a tablet dispenser to permit dispensing of tablets from a tablet package wherein the tablets are at least partially enclosed by a frangible material, the tablet package being rotatable within the housing of the tablet dispenser with clearance provided for torn or ruptured portions of the frangible material.
Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a tablet package for use in chronologically dispensing tablets wherein time-related indicia associated with each tablet are disposed on a frangible closure layer enclosing the tablets in pockets in a blister sheet such that dispensing of the tablets ruptures the closure layer and obliterates the indicia.
Some of the advantages of the present invention over the prior art are that the number of components required for the tablet dispenser is reduced to a minimum, initial placement and refilling of tablets in the housing of the tablet dispenser is facilitated, dispensing of a tablet requires only a single squeezing movement between the cover and the body of the housing, and no opening, rotation or inverting of the tablet dispenser is required for dispensing of a tablet therefrom.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a broken exploded perspective view of the tablet dispenser of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the tablet dispenser of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 3 and 4 are cross sectional views of the tablet dispenser of FIG. 1 in storage and dispensing states, respectively.
FIG. 5 is a broken bottom plan view of the tablet package of the tablet dispenser of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the tablet package taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a broken exploded perspective view of the indexing disc and housing of the tablet dispenser of FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of a modification of the tablet dispenser of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of the tablet package of the tablet dispenser of HO. 8.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A tablet dispenser 10 according to the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 and includes, as basic components, a housing 12 and a tablet package 14 received in the housing. As will be discussed in greater detail hereinafter, the housing 12 is designed to be refillable such that, once all of the tablets from the package 14 have been dispensed, a new package of tablets can be inserted in the housing. The tablet packages can be used with a separate indexing disc 16 or can be integrally formed with an indexing structure.
The housing 12 includes a round body 18 and a round cover 20 pivotally connected with the body by a hinge 22. The body 18, cover 20 and hinge 22 are preferably integrally formed of a plastic material as a single piece such that the hinge 22 biases the cover away from the body; however, the housing 12 can be formed of any suitable material in as many parts as de' sired, and a separate hinge and bias means can be used to join the cover with the body.
Body 18 has a central aperture 24 therein defined by the edge of a flange 26 extending inwardly from an annular wall 28 upstanding from a concave bottom wall 30 of the body. The concave configuration of the bottom wall 30 forms a recess in the body 18 defined at its periphery by an annular wall 32 having notches 34 in the upper edge thereof, and an annular support wall 36 extends from bottom wall 30 inwardly spaced from pcripheral wall 32 and arranged concentrically with walls 28 and 32. Ledges 38 and 40 extend transversely from the axis of the body in the front and rear thereof, respectively, with the front ledge 38 terminating at a straight edge from which a stop 42 extends while the rear ledge 40 terminates at hinge 22. A pair of radially extending members 44 span the recess in the body 18 between flange 26 and support wall 36 in alignment with the stop 42, and a dispensing opening 46 is formed in bottom wall 30 under members 44 and diametrically opposite the hinge 22.
The cover has a configuration mating with the configuration of body 18 and is formed of a top wall 48 having curved walls 50 depending from the side edges thereof, a flat wall 52 depending from the rear edge thereof and terminating at hinge 22 and flat wall 54 depending from the front edge thereof and terminating at an inwardly turned, locking lip 56. An ejector tab 58 which is concave shaped to generally conform to the tablet protrudes inwardly from top wall 48 adjacent front wall 54 for alignment with dispensing opening 46 when the cover 20 is closed. The concave shape helps prevent breaking of the tablet when it is dispensed. The walls depending from top wall 48 have a length to extend below the ledges around the body 18 when the cover is closed, and the length of stop 42 is less than the length of front wall 54 such that the cover 20 is movable relative to the body 18.
The tablet package 14 has a disc-like configuration and is formed of a planar closure layer 59 made of a frangible material, such as thin aluminum foil, and a therrno or vacuum formed blister sheet 60 made of a transparent plastic material defining a plurality of annularl .nigcd pockets 62 c. eceiving a tablet 64 to be dispensed. as shown in HUS. 5 and 6. The tablet package 14 can be manufactured in accordance with conventional blister" packaging techniques with the closure layer 59 sealed to the blister sheet 60 after loading of the tablets 64 in the pockets 62, the tablets being preferably vertically positioned in the pockets in order to minimize the diameter of the tablet dispenser 10. A slightly curved slot 66 is formed through the closure layer 59 and the blister sheet 60 in the center of the tablet package 14 so as to be aligned with the central aperture 24 when the tablet package is positioned in body 18. Time related indicia 68, sequentially indicating the days of the week or the particular regimen of use for the product being dispensed, are carried on closure layer 59 in alignment with pockets 62 such that each tablet in the package has associated therewith a specific day of the week or use period in chronological order.
The indexing disc 16 has a central hub 70 with a tab 72 extending therefrom undercut at both ends at 74, and an outer ring 76 is spaced from hub 70 with a plurality of radial ribs 78 extending there between to define annularly arranged openings 80 in the indexing disc 16. The openings 80 are arranged to receive the pockets 62 of the tablet package 14, there being, (in the case of an oral contraceptive) 21 tablets 64 and openings 80 to the tablets. A pair of diametrically opposed detent lugs 82 depend from the bottom surface of outer ring 76 and, as best shown in FIG. 7, cooperate with detent notches 34 to index rotational movement of the tablet package 14 and permit movement only in a predetermined direction by riding up inclined surfaces 84 of the detent notches, the predetermined direction of rotation being clockwise looking down on the tablet dispenser as shown in FIG. 1 and counterclockwise looking at FIG. 2.
ln use, the tablet package 14 is assembled with the indexing disc 16 with the pockets 62 extending through the openings 80 in the indexing disc and the tab 72 extending through the slot 66 in the tablet package. The assembled tablet package and indexing disc are then disposed in the recess in the body 18 of the housing 12 with the tablet package supported by flange 26 and support wall 36 and the rim of the indexing disc engaging peripheral wall 32, it being noted that the tablets 64 are arranged to be aligned with the dispensing opening 46 in the body as the tablet package is rotated. The detent notches 34 are aligned with the dispensing opening 46 such that with the detent lugs 82 engaging the detent notches 34, a pocket 62 will always be disposed directly above the dispensing opening 46. The indexing disc 16 is preferably made of a deformable material, such as plastic; and, the tab 72 has inwardly sloping edges extending from undercuts 74, where the length of the tab is greater than the diameter of central aperture 24 in the body 18, to the end where the length of the tab is less than the diameter of the central aperture 24 such that the tab can be easily inserted in the central aperture 24 and deformed such that the edge of the flange 26 will be received in the undercuts 74. With the tablet package and the indexing disc positioned in the body 18, the cover 20 is closed such that the locking lip 56 engages the bottom edge of the ledge 38 to maintain the cover in the closed position.
With the housing 12 closed, the tablet dispenser 10 will be in the storage state, as shown in FIG. 3, with the hinge 22 biasing the cover away from the body to a po sition limited by the abutment of lip 56 with ledge 38. The ejector tab 58 will, thus, be spaced from the dispensing opening 46 with the tablets 64 being movable in the space there between for dispensing. To use the dispenser, the tablets are rotated clockwise within the housing by turning tab 72 until the indicia 68 corresponding to the date of first usage is visible through the dispensing opening. For instance, as shown in FIG. 2, the tab 72 would be turned until indicia 68 representing Saturday is visible through the dispensing opening 46. The tablet package can only be rotated clockwise due to the configuration of the detent notches 34 with the inclined surfaces 84 such that once the appropriate indicia 68 is positioned in the dispensing opening 46, the tablet package can be turned only in accordance with the chronological order of the days of the week.
In order to dispense a tablet, the housing 12 is merely squeezed by the user such that the cover 20 is moved toward the body 18 to cause the ejector tab 58 to engage the top of the tablet 64 disposed over the dispensing opening 46 via the blister sheet 60, the force from the ejector tab rupturing the frangible material 59, as shown at 86 in FIG, 4, thereby permitting the tablet 64 to drop through the dispensing opening. The dispensing of the tablet 64 will, thus, obliterate the indicia 68 associated therewith such that the user can determine at a glance whether a tablet for the day identified by the indicia has been dispensed.
Once the housing is released from the dispensing state shown in FIG. 4, the bias from hinge 22 will return the housing 12 to the storage state shown in FIG. 3 with the ejector tab 58 moving back to its position spaced from the dispensing opening to permit rotation of the tablet package to position the next tablet to be dispensed. in order to position the next tablet to be dispensed, tab 72 is turned causing the detent lugs 82 to ride up the inclined surfaces 84 of the detent notches and move along the upper edge of peripheral wall 32 to drop into the next detent notches 34, which dropping movement can be felt by the user. As well as providing proper indexing and alignment with the dispensing opening 46, the cooperation between detent lugs 82 and detent notches 34 permits the indexing disc 16 to be raised to provide clearance for movement of the ruptured or torn portions 86 of the frangible material past the members 44 aligned with the dispensing opening.
A modification of the tablet dispenser of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9 with parts identical to parts of the tablet dispenser being given identical reference numbers and not described again and parts similar to parts of the tablet dispenser l0 given the same reference numbers with 100 added. The primary differences between the tablet dispenser 110 of H08. 8 and 9 and the tablet dispenser 10 are that the tablet package 114 has indexing structure formed integrally therewith and the body 118 of the housing has arcuate peripheral openings therein to expose the rim of the tablet package for rotating the tablets.
The tablet package 114 is formed of a base 116 having a planar upper surface and a cylindrical protrusion 117 extending from the bottom surface of a central hub 70, the protrusion 117 having a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the central aperture 24 in the body 118 of the housing such that with the protrusion inserted in the central aperture, tablet package 114 will be rotatable while being held in place. A plurality of ribs or spokes 178 extend from the hub to an outer ring 76 defining apertures 80 there between. The ring 76 has a knurled peripheral rim 177, and detent lugs 82 extend from the bottom surface of ring 76. A layer of frangible material is secured to the base 116 in any suit able manner, such as by an adhesive; and, a blister sheet is sealed to the frangible material and has pockets therein receiving tablets to be dispensed, as discussed above. The blister pack structure of the tablet package 114 can be secured to the base 116 in any other suitable manner, as desired.
The body 118 has arcuate peripheral openings 179 on opposite sides thereof such that knurled rim 177 of the tablet package extends therethrough. If desired, the bottom wall of body 118 can close aperture 24 while the annularcentral wall is retained to rotatably support the tablet package 114.
The dispensing operation of the tablet dispenser is similar to that described above with respect to tablet dispenser 10 with the exception that the tablet package "4 is rotated to position a tablet for dispensing by gripping knurled rim 177 to rotate the base 116.
The integral construction of the tablet package as shown in FIG. 9 can be used with tablet dispenser 10 but utilizing tab 72 in place of cylindrical protrusion 117; and similarly, the separate tablet package 14 and indexing disc 16 shown in FIG. 1 can be used with the tablet dispenser 1 10 by providing the indexing disc with a knurled rim and a cylindrical protrusion in place of tab 72.
From the above, it will be appreciated that the structure of the present invention, as described above, permits the use of tablet packages enclosing tablets in frangible material while requiring only a single dispensing opening and obviating the retarding of movement of the tablet packages normally caused by the ruptured frangible material. Additionally, the structure of the cover and body of the housing with the ejector tab carried on the cover permits a tablet to be dispensed by merely squeezing the housing to pivot the cover and base relative to each other without requiring any further manipulation of the tablet dispenser, and the positioning of the dispensing opening of the ejector tab diametrically opposite to the hinge reduces the force required for ejection. However, while the tablet dispenser of the present invention is particularly advantageous as described above, it is noted that any type of tablet package can be utilized therewith having a frangible material at least partially enclosing the tablets, the dispensing opening can have any desired configuration and can be placed at any position in the body, and the cover could be constructed with the ejector tab pivotally attached thereto such that the ejector tab and body could be squeezed together to dispense a tablet.
The dispenser of the invention is applicable for use in connection with any tablet which is taken on a regular basis and is particularly suited to those tablets in connection with which a strict regimen of use is essential. In addition to birth control products, as particularly referred to above, many other tablets are suited for use in connection with the present invention including thyroid tablets, digitalis, antispasmodics, antidiabetes tablets, estrogens, and antibiotics. ln instances where a tablet is to be taken more than once a day, the indicia printed on the tablet package would merely indicate when during any particular day that tablet was to be taken.
lnasmuch as the present invention is subject to many variations, modifications and changes in detail, it is intended that all matter described above or shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
l. A tablet dispenser comprising a housing including a body having a dispensing opening therein and a cover extending over said body; ejection means associated with the cover and spaced from and aligned with said dispensing opening. said ejection means being movable toward said dispensing opening; and
a tablet package including a plurality of tablets each at least partially enclosed by a frangible material, said tablet package being disposed in said body with said tablets movable in said space between said ejection means and said dispensing opening whereby said tablets can be dispensed through said dispensing opening by moving said ejection means toward said dispensing opening to apply a force against said tablets and rupture said frangible material.
2. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said cover is movable relative to said body to move said ejection means toward said dispensing opening.
3. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 2 wherein said housing includes means biasing said cover away from said body toward a storage state with said ejection means spaced from said tablets, said cover and said body being squeezable against the force of said bias means to dispense said tablets.
4. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 3 wherein said cover is pivotally connected with said body.
5. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 4 wherein said housing is integrally formed of plastic with said cover being pivotally connected with said body by an integrally formed hinge biasing said cover away from said body.
6. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 5 wherein said frangible material has an outer surface extending across said dispensing opening with time related indicia carried on said outer surface of said frangible material in alignment with each of said tablets such that said time related indicia is viewable through said dispensing opening.
7. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 6 wherein said tablet package has a disc-like configuration and said tablets are annularly arranged and further comprising indexing means rotatably disposed in said body engaging said tablet package and having a plurality of annularly arranged apertures aligned with said tablets.
8. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 7 wherein said body has wall means disposed therein having an upper edge with a plurality of detent notches therein and said indexing means has detent lug means extending therefrom to be received in said detent notches to index positioning of said tablets with said dispensing opening. said detent lug means riding on said upper edge of said wall means as said indexing means is totated to provide clearance for said ruptured frangible material.
9. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 8 wherein said detent notches each have an inclined surface to permit rotation of said tablets only in a predetermined direction.
10. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 9 wherein said body has a central aperture therein and said index ing means has a tab extending through said central aperture whereby said indexing means can be rotated to move said tablets by turning said tab.
11. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 9 wherein said body has an opening along a side edge thereof and said indexing means has a rim extending through said side opening whereby said indexing means can be rotated to move said tablets by turning said rim.
12. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said frangible material has an outer surface extending across said dispensing opening with time related indicia carried on said outer surface of said frangible material in alignment with each of said tablets such that said time related indicia is viewable through said dispensing opening.
13. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said body has detent notch means therein and further comprising indexing means rotatably disposed in said body in engagement with said tablet package to control movement of said tablets, said indexing means carrying detent lug means for engaging said detent notch means to index the position of said tablets in said body.
14. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 13 wherein said detent lug means is movable away from said body to raise said indexing means and provide clearance for ruptured portions of said frangible material.
15. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said body has a central aperture therein and further comprising indexing means rotatably disposed in said body in engagement with said tablet package having a tab extending through said central aperture to permit movement of said tablets.
16. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 wherein said body has an opening in a side edge thereof and further comprising indexing means rotatably disposed in said body in engagement with said tablet package having a rim extending through said side opening to permit movement of said tablets.
17. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 1 and further comprising means for pennitting said tablet package to be raised as said tablets are moved to provide clearance for ruptured portions of said frangible material.
.l8. A tablet dispenser for dispensing tablets at least partially enclosed by a frangible material comprising body means adapted to receive the tablets and having a dispensing opening therein; and
cover means pivotally connected with said body means and carrying an ejector tab aligned with said dispensing opening, said cover means being pivotally movable between a storage state with said ejector tab spaced from said dispensing opening and a dispensing state with said ejector tab adjacent said dispensing opening whereby a tablet disposed between said ejector tab and said dispensing opening can be dispensed from said tablet dispenser by squeezing said body means and said cover means to pivot said cover means to said dispensing state.
19. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 18 and further comprising means hingedly connecting said cover means with said body means and biasing said cover means away from said body means toward said storage state.
20. A tablet dispenser as recited in claim 19 wherein said body means. said cover means and said connecting and biasing means are integrally formed of plastic material.
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|U.S. Classification||221/5, 206/534, 221/86, 116/308, 206/531|
|International Classification||A61J1/03, B65D83/04, A61J7/04|
|Cooperative Classification||B65D2583/0409, B65D83/0463, A61J1/035, A61J7/04|
|European Classification||B65D83/04C2, A61J7/04|