This application claims priority from, and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/988,165, filed Nov. 15, 2007 and entitled Container for Housing Medication, which is incorporated herein by reference.
FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to packaging suitable for storing and dispensing medication and more specifically to containers that house blister cards that provide a simple method for determining whether a dose has been taken while meeting child resistance standards.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It is well known that medications, such as pills, tablets, and capsules, must be administered over a dosing period. In many circumstances, the medications can be harmful to children, so law-makers have passed regulations concerning child resistant packaging. The use of child resistant packaging is well known throughout the art, and has been utilized for goods ranging from household items to pharmaceutical products. The pharmaceutical industry has settled on two main methods of dispensing medication, either loosely in a “amber” bottle or more discretely in a blister card.
The traditional child-resistant “amber” bottle utilizes a “push and turn” cap by which the person wishing to open the bottle must press down to release a locking mechanism before turning the cap. These bottles are effective for mass distribution of a medication, but have significant drawbacks. First, “push and turn” cap's are often smaller in size, so that they do not provide a sufficiently stable gripping surface to allow a user of limited dexterity, i.e. the elderly, to access the medication in side easily. Secondly, the level of chemical stability of the individual pills has been a serious concern. Pills that are dispensed in traditional “amber bottles” are often handled and put back into the bottle or, since the bottle is being constantly opened and closed, causing excessive contamination and moisture often enter the bottle. For example, hand moisture and body oils can significantly reduce the shelf-life and effectiveness of a medication. Finally, “amber bottles” provide no compliance feature that informs the user as to whether or not a dose has been taken during that dosing period, be it a morning, afternoon, day, or week.
The other well-known medication packaging is “unit dose” packaging or blister cards. Blister cards are typically formed from flexible materials with a plurality of cavities that receive and dispense one pill. An open side of each cavity is covered with a pierceable foil seal. The user simply pushes a selected pill through the foil seal in order to remove the medication from its individual blister on the card. Blister card packaging ensures stability and allows for patient compliance, although it often does not provide sufficient protection for the medication or child resistance. The pierceable foil seal could be difficult to pierce or remove without damaging the dose, so some blister cards are equipped with a tab the user can pull to remove the foil seal.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a senior-friendly, child resistant medication dispenser for containing a blister card that includes a permanently locking spine mechanism that secures a blister card inside the container. The container having a two handed press and separate child resistant feature wherein the user must simultaneously press at least two buttons with enough force to bend the buttons as to release them from tabs holding the buttons in a locked position. Once the buttons are depressed with sufficient force as to clear the locking arms the buttons are then separated and the top and bottom of the container are separated about a hinge.
The spine mechanism is integrated into the top of the container and separates the top into multiple sections. The spine uses a hook implement on its inner surface at the peripheral edge farthest from the hinge to snap and lock permanently onto a catch mechanism that is part of the bottom of the container. The catch mechanism is a stiff plastic surface that includes a relatively deep ledge for the hook to bind upon.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully disclosed in, or rendered obvious by the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, which are to be considered together with the accompanying drawings wherein like numbers refer to like parts, and further wherein:
FIG. 1 is a front top perspective view of a child resistant container with attached blister card with unattached spine mechanism in an open position in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a back perspective view of the child resistant container as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the child resistant container with an attached spine mechanism in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a front top perspective view of the child resistant container in a closed position in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the child resistant container shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the child resistant container shown in FIG. 5, as taken along lines 100-100;
FIG. 7 is a top view of the child resistant container shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the child resistant container shown in FIG. 7, as taken along lines 200-200;
FIG. 9 is a front top perspective view of the child resistant container in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 10 is a front top perspective view of the child resistant container shown in FIG. 8, in a closed position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
This description of preferred embodiments is intended to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are to be considered part of the entire written description of this invention. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale and certain features of the invention may be shown exaggerated in scale or in somewhat schematic form in the interest of clarity and conciseness. In the description, relative terms such as “horizontal,” “vertical,” “up,” “down,” “top” and “bottom” as well as derivatives thereof (e.g., “horizontally,” “downwardly,” “upwardly,” etc.) should be construed to refer to the orientation as then described or as shown in the drawing figure under discussion. These relative terms are for convenience of description and normally are not intended to require a particular orientation. Terms including “inwardly” versus “outwardly,” “longitudinal” versus “lateral” and the like are to be interpreted relative to one another or relative to an axis of elongation, or an axis or center of rotation, as appropriate. Terms concerning attachments, coupling and the like, such as “connected” and “interconnected,” refer to a relationship wherein structures are secured or attached to one another either directly or indirectly through intervening structures, as well as both movable or rigid attachments or relationships, unless expressly described otherwise. The term “operatively connected” is such an attachment, coupling or connection that allows the pertinent structures to operate as intended by virtue of that relationship. In the claims, means-plus-function clauses, if used, are intended to cover the structures described, suggested, or rendered obvious by the written description or drawings for performing the recited function, including not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures.
Referring to FIGS. 1-8, senior-friendly, child-resistant container 1 that includes a top 2, a bottom 20, a hinge 18, a spine 40, and a latch system 50. More particularly, top 2 includes top wall 3, angled walls 8, sidewalls 6, curved corner walls 11 and 12, and curved walls 4 and 5. Angled walls 8 project downward and outwardly from angled edges 14 of top wall 3. Sidewalls 6 project downward from side edge 13 of angled walls 14 creating top rim 15 around the perimeter of top 2. Curved walls 4 and 5 project outwards from rear edges 9 and 10 respectively of top wall 3 connecting to hinge 18. Curved corner walls 11 and 12 project from the sidewalls 6 toward latch edge 7. Latch walls 67 and 68 project downward from top wall 3 at latch edge 7.
Bottom 20 includes bottom wall 21, angled walls 25, sidewalls 23, curved wall 22, curved corner walls 27 and 28, spine catch 32, and support walls 36. Angled walls 25 projects both upwardly and outwardly from angled edge 30 of bottom wall 21. Sidewalls 23 project upward from side edge 29 of angled wall 25 forming bottom rim 31 about the perimeter of bottom 20. Curved corner walls 27 and 28 project forward from sidewalls 23 toward latch edge 24. Latch walls 69 and 70 project upward from bottom wall 21 at latch edge 24. Curved wall 22 projects upward from bottom wall 21 connecting to hinge 18 and to top 2. Top 2 and bottom 20 open and close about hinge 18 wherein the top rim 15 and bottom rim 31 created a closed seal of container 1.
Spine catch 32 including lower wall 35, horizontal wall 34 and upper wall 33 projects upward from the upper surface of bottom wall 21. More particularly, lower wall 35 projects upward from the upper surface of bottom wall 21 near latch edge 24. Horizontal wall 34 projects forward toward latch edge 24 and turns upward forming upper wall 33 creating spine catch 32. Support walls 36 including a front end 37 and abutments 38 project upward from the upper surface of bottom wall 21 and run the length of bottom 20 from rear edge 26 to front end 37. Blister card 75 having pill tabs 79 is set upon support walls 36 and pushed forward against abutments 38.
Spine 40 including spine wall 42, rim 43, and rounded wall 44 rotates about hinge 41 clamping down upon the back surface of blister card 75. Rounded wall 44 extends downward from rim 43 of spine wall 42 connected to container by via hinge 41. Ledge 45 projects from the inner surface of rounded wall 44 such that when spine 40 is in a clamped position rounded wall 44 extends beyond the upper wall 33 of spine catch 32 and ledge 45 bends the spine catch 32 inward. Once ledge 45 is lowered beyond the height of upper wall 33, ledge 45 hooks into horizontal wall 34 releasing the pressure off of the upper wall 33 and permanently attaching the spine 40 to spine catch 32 trapping blister card 75. Blister card 75 further including cavities 77 holding medication (not shown) cannot be removed from container 1.
Child-resistant latch system 50 including top latch 51a, bottom latch 51b, top latch arms 61a, and bottom latch arms 61b seals the top 2 and bottom 20 about hinge 18 until a user opens container 1. Top latch 51a including curved wall 52a projecting downward from latch hinge 53a attached to top wall 3 at latch edge 7 and extending forward over front wall 68. Lip 53a bulges from the lower edge or curved wall 52a to create an additional impediment for releasing child-resistant latch system 50. Lip wall 56a and sidewall 57a project inward from the outer surface of curved wall 52a to form latch recesses 55a. Bottom latch 51b includes curved wall 52b projecting upward from latch hinge 53b attached to bottom wall 21 at latch edge 24 and extending forward over front wall 69. Lip 54b bulges from the upper edge of curved wall 52b to create an additional impediment to releasing child-resistant latch system 50. Lip wall 56b and sidewall 57b project inward from the outer surface of curved 52b to form latch recesses 55b.
Top latch arms 61a includes two short walls 62a projecting toward one another in front of front wall 67 in a mirrored relation, whereby creating gap 65. Flanges 63a project downward from the inner bottom edges of short walls 62a. The short walls 62a and flanges 63a are formed to identically align with and fit perfectly within latch recesses 55b of bottom latch 51b. Bottom latch arms 61b includes two short walls 62b projecting toward one another in front of front wall 69 in a mirrored relation, whereby creating gap 66. Flanges 63b project upward from the inner upper edges of short walls 62b. The short walls 62b and flanges 63b are formed to identically align with and fit perfectly within latch recesses 55a of top latch 51a
As a result of closing top 2 and bottom 20 about hinge 18, lip 54a makes contact with flanges 63b forcing the top latch 51a toward bottom front wall 70. Curved wall 52a is pressed beneath bottom latch arms 61b until short walls 62b and flanges 63b enter into latch recesses 55a fitting over lip wall 56a and within sidewall 57a. Simultaneously, lip 54b makes contact with flanges 63a forcing the bottom latch 51b toward top front wall 67. Curved wall 52b is pressed beneath top latch arms 61a until short walls 62a and flanges 63aa enter into latch recesses 5b fitting over lip wall 56b and within sidewall 57b. The combination of top latch 51a and bottom latch 51b with top latch arms 61a and bottom latch arms 61b create the child-resistance latch system 50 of container 1. A user can release the child-resistant latch system 50 by simultaneously pressing upon the curved surface 52a of top latch 51a and curved surface 52b of bottom latch 51b. Latch hinges 53a and 53b bend allowing top latch 51a and bottom latch 51b to lower toward front walls 68 and 69 respectively. Latch recesses 55a and 55b release latch arms 61a and 61b allowing top latch 51a and bottom latch 51b to slide underneath the latch arms 61a and 61b. The user must then retain pressure on both the top latch 51a and bottom latch 51b, which pulling or pushing the top 2 and bottom 20 in opposite directions about hinge 18.
Referring to FIGS. 9-10, another embodiment of child-resistant latch system 80 includes top latch 81a, bottom latch 81b, top latch arms 92a and bottom latch arms 92b. Top latch 81a including curved wall 82a projecting downward from latch hinge 83a attached to top wall 3 at latch edge 7 and extending forward over front wall 97. Lower wall 86a, sidewalls 87a, and nook 88a project inward from the outer surface of curved wall 82a to form latch recesses 85a. Nook 88a including back wall 89a (not shown), front wall 90a (not shown), and sidewalls 91a (not shown) create a secondary area within latch recess 85a. Bottom latch 81b includes curved wall 82b projecting upward from latch hinge 83b attached to bottom wall 21 at latch edge 24 and extending forward over front wall 102. Lower wall 86b and sidewalls 87b and nook 88b project inward from the outer surface of curved wall 82b to form latch recesses 85b. Nook 88b including back wall 89b (not shown), front wall 90b (not shown), and sidewalls 91b (not shown) create a secondary area within latch recess 85b.
Top latch arms 92a including hook walls 92a project outward and downward from latch edge 7 of top wall 3 creating gap 95 between ledge 94a formed at the distal edge of hook walls 93a and front wall 97. Bottom latch arms 92b including hook walls 92b project outward and upward from latch edge 24 of bottom wall 21 creating gap 96 between ledge 94b formed at the distal edge of hook walls 93b and front wall 102.
Similarly, as a result as closing top 2 and bottom 20 about hinge 18, top latch 81a lowers toward bottom latch arms 92b causing bottom latch arms 92b to enter into latch recesses 85a entering between side walls 87a and making contact with lower wall 86a. Ledges 94b enter nooks 88a in top latch 81a clamping itself on the front wall 90a and holding top latch 81a to bottom latch arms 92b. At the same time, bottom latch 81b enters top latch arms 92a causing bottom latch arms 92a to enter into latch recess 85b entering between side walls 87b and making contact with lower wall 86b. Ledges 94a enters nooks 88b in bottom latch 81b clamping itself on the front wall 90b and holding bottom latch 81b to top latch arms 92a. Again, in order to open container 1, the user presses upon the curved walls 82a and 82b releasing latch arms 92a and 92b from nooks 88a and 88b. Then the user pulls apart the top 2 from bottom 20 along hinge 18 simultaneously.
It is to be understood that the present invention is by no means limited to the particular constructions herein disclosed and shown in the drawings, but also comprises any modifications or equivalents within the scope of the claims.