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Pressurized Metered Dose Ventolin Bricanyl Inhaler with Spacer

Stan Epstein Respiratory Medicine · IHPST

A blue-coloured cardboard package containing a collapsible blue plastic artifact. The artifact folds out into an “L”-shaped form. At one end is a pressurized metal cylinder containing bricanyl medicine. As the opposite end is a circular opening for inhaling the aerosolized medicine.

The package also contains a paper instruction sheet.

Accession Number: 2019.ihpst.91

Alternative Name: Bricanyl Spacer

Primary Materials: Plastic, Paper, Metal.


One face of the cardboard packaging, and the label on the pressurized cylinder, contain the following product information:
“DIN 444774”
“PROD NO 187”

Embossed on one face of the cardboard packaging is the following information:
“LOT 38006”
“EXP 1/87”

Dimensions (cm):

(Box) Height = 8.5, Width = 4.5, Length = 4.5.


The pressurized metered dose Inhaler (pMDI) delivers a calibrated dose of medicine into the respiratory tract. This version incorporates a “spacer” device, which is intended to reduce user error associated with conventional pDMIs.

This item was manufactured with 200 metered doses of .25mg Bricanyl (terbutaline sulfate) which is a bronchodilator used to treat asthma and other medical conditions.


Very good: The cardboard packaging has slight signs of wear and some damage to the top surface. The plastic spacer has very light signs of wear.

Associated Instruments:


Astra Pharmaceuticals, Mississauga, ON, Canada.

Date of Manufacture: c. 1980s


This item was acquired along with a collection of medical artifacts from the home of Dr. Stanley Epstein on February 19, 2019.

Additional Information and References:

Epstein, Stanley W. and Colleen S. Duncan “The use of MDI’s in clinical medicine.” In <i>Metered Dose Inhalers: An International Workshop (October 17-19, 1983, Mont Ste. Marie, Qc).</i> edited by S. W. Epstein. 59-62. Mississauga, OnL Astra Pharmaceuticals Canada, 1984.

Historical Notes:

The concept of the MDI has been credited to Dr. George Maison, President of Riker Laboratories, Inc. Dr. Maison’s nine-year-old the daughter had asthma, and sometimes dropped and broke her glass nebulizer, an instrument that was then commonly used to administer adrenergic bronchodilator. Around 1954-1955, she is said to have remarked: “why not make an inhaler like the hair sprays?”
In April of 1955, Dr. Maison, along with Mr. Irving Poresh invented an instrument that incorporated an existing patented metering valve. This was approved by the FDA in March of 1956. The Medihaler-EPI and Medihaler-ISO were subsequently into the medical marketplace.
MDI’s grew in popularity over the 1960s. In the late 1970s, the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was banned in the United States. This coincided with the development of power-based inhalers. Non-CFC propellants have since been developed and popularized. [Epstein and Duncan, 1984]