FDA recently approved a new digital inhaler that can help patients better understand their asthma symptoms and communicate them to their doctor.

It could herald a new class of digital inhalers coming to the marketplace and making it easier for patients and families to coordinate care with healthcare providers.

The ProAir® Digihaler™ (albuterol sulfate inhalation powder), manufactured by Teva, is a quick-relief albuterol inhaler indicated for the treatment or prevention of bronchospasm in patients ages four years and older with asthma and/or exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB).

The inhaler has built-in sensors that detect when the inhaler is used and measure inspiratory flow, sending data to a companion mobile app that can be shared with healthcare providers.

Tracking inhaler use can help patients determine if their asthma is uncontrolled and if they should see their primary care doctor or allergist for treatment.

The medication in the device – albuterol sulfate – works by relaxing the muscles around the airways, allowing more air to pass through. Breathing improvements typically occur within minutes.

The ProAir Digihaler is expected to be available in 2019 through a small number of healthcare programs in order to compile real-world experience with the device. A national launch is planned for 2020.