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Title:
A METHOD, A COMBINATION AND A CONTAINER FOR DISPENSING MEDICINAL TABLETS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1999/025307
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method and a container for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills and the like where a container (1) having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments (2) each having at least one aperture is covered by a sheet (12) or relatively thin tearable material such as paper and the like, the sheet of paper being arranged over the container (1) after having inserted the pills in the compartments (2). Thereafter the sheet of paper is held in place by a lid (5) having arms (6) that snap-engage with the edge of the container and hold the sheet of paper in place such that strips of paper may be removed between two adjacent arms to give access to the corresponding compartment for removal of the pills therein. The lid may be held in place over the sheet of paper by fixing means (11) cooperating with an aperture (4) in such a manner that the lid cannot be opened without damaging the fixing means (11) in the shape of a hook.

Inventors:
Mernøe, Morten (Høstvej 21 Charlottenlund, DK-2920, DK)
Bjerrum, Luise c/o Mette, Hein Kleinsgade 3. (4.th. Copenhagen V, DK-1633, DK)
Meldahl, Hanne (Skovvej 71B Charlottenlund, DK-2920, DK)
Application Number:
PCT/DK1998/000504
Publication Date:
May 27, 1999
Filing Date:
November 19, 1998
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Mernøe, Morten (Høstvej 21 Charlottenlund, DK-2920, DK)
Bjerrum, Luise c/o Mette, Hein Kleinsgade 3. (4.th. Copenhagen V, DK-1633, DK)
Meldahl, Hanne (Skovvej 71B Charlottenlund, DK-2920, DK)
International Classes:
A61J7/04; B65D83/04; A61J1/03; (IPC1-7): A61J1/00; B65D83/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ostenfeld, Patentbureau A/s (Bredgade 41 P.O. Box 1183 Copenhagen K, DK-1011, DK)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Patent Claims
1. A method of dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like and comprising the steps of: providing a container having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments each having at least one aperture, providing at least one sheet of relatively thin tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like, providing a holding means for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substantially covered by the at least one sheet, introducing tablets in at least one of the compartments, arranging the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container or the holding means arranging the holding means such with relation to the container that the at least one sheet is fixed in place thereby such that the aperture of the at least one compartment is substantially covered by the at least one sheet for en closing the tablets in the compartment, dispensing the tablets from a compartment by perforating and/or tearing and/or removing at least part of the portion of the sheet covering the aperture of the compartment so as to allow access to the tablets in the compartment for removal thereof from same.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein the sheet is provided with information indicia such as printing, handwriting, braille markings and the like prior to and/or after being arranged across the aperture or apertures.
3. A method according to claim 2, wherein the indicia comprise identification of the aperture or apertures such as dispensing time, contents and the like and/or identification of the calendar day, weekday and the like and/or identification of the person to which the tablets are to be dispensed and/or name of dispensing institu tion and the like.
4. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the holding means comprise defining portions for defining access regions in the holding means at least partly corresponding to the apertures of the compartments, the access re gions giving access to the sheet for perforating and/or tearing and/or removal of at least a portion of the sheet.
5. A method according to claim 4, wherein the sheet is provided with a tab adja cent the portion of the sheet to be torn or removed, the method furthermore com prising the step of gripping and pulling the tab for tearing and/or removing said por tion of the sheet prior to dispensing the tablets from the relevant compartment.
6. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the sheet is pro vided with weakening lines such as perforations, scorings and the like for predeter mining the lines along which the sheet may be torn, perforated and/or removed.
7. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the holding means is attached to the container by an attachment means allowing relative movement of the holding means relative to the container for allowing introduction of the tablets in the compartments such as a hinge means, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating fixing means for fixing the holding means with relation to the container.
8. A method according to any of the claims 16, wherein the holding means is totally detachable from the container, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating coupling means for fixedly coupling the holding means to the container.
9. A method according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said sheet is a separate sheet, the nethod further comprising the step of fixing the sheet in relation to the container and holding means by mutually engaging the cooperating fixing means or coupling means.
10. A method according to any of the claims 18, wherein the sheet is fixedly at tached to the holding means prior to mutually engaging the fixing or coupling means.
11. A method according to any of the claims 710, wherein the coupling means or the fixing means are provided with means to indicate unauthorized access to the tablet compartments by detaching the holding means from the container after the tablets have been inserted in the compartments and the coupling or fixing means have been mutually engaged.
12. A combination for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the combination comprising a container having two or more tablet receiving and dis pensing compartments each having an aperture, at least one relatively thin, flexible sheet of tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, alumi num foil, plastic film and the like and a holding means for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substantially covered by the at least one sheet.
13. A combination according to claim 12, wherein the sheet is provided with in formation indicia such as printing, handwriting, braille markings and the like.
14. A combination according to claim 13, wherein the indicia comprise identifica tion of the aperture or apertures such as dispensing time, contents and the like and/or identification of the calendar day, weekday and the like and/or identification of the person to which the tablets are to be dispensed and/or name of dispensing institution and the like.
15. A combination according to any of the claims 1215, wherein the holding means comprise defining portions for defining access regions in the holding means at least partly corresponding to the apertures of the compartments, the access re gions giving access to the sheet for perforating and/or tearing and/or removal of at least a portion of the sheet.
16. A combination according to claim 15, wherein the sheet adjacent the portion of the sheet to be torn or removed is provided with a tab for gripping for pulling for tearing and/or removing said portion of the sheet prior to dispensing the tablets from the relevant compartment.
17. A combination according to any of the claims 1216, wherein the sheet is pro vided with weakening lines such as perforations, scorings and the like for predeter mining the lines along which the sheet may be torn, perforated and/or removed.
18. A combination according to any of the claims 1217, wherein the holding means is attached to the container by an attachment means allowing relative movement of the holding means relative to the container for allowing introduction of the tablets in the compartments such as a hinge means, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating fixing means for fixing the holding means with relation to the container.
19. A method according to any of the claims 1217, wherein the holding means is totally detachable from the container, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating coupling means for fixedly coupling the holding means to the container.
20. A combination according to claim 18 or 19, wherein the coupling means or the fixing means are provided with means to indicate unauthorized access to the tablet compartments by detaching the holding means from the container after the tablets have been inserted in the compartments and the coupling or fixing means have been mutually engaged.
21. A combination for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the combination comprising: a container comprising a body having two or more tablet receiving and dis pensing compartments each having an aperture and a holding means connected to the body by flexible connecting means allowing relative movement of the holding means relative to the body, and at least one relatively thin, flexible sheet of tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like, the holding means being adapted for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substantially covered by the at least one sheet.
22. A container for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the container comprising a body having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments each having an aperture and a lid means connected to the body by flexible connecting means allowing relative movement of the lid means relative to the body, the lid means comprising at least one at least partly removable region comprising thinner material or defined by weakening lines, the connecting means being adapted to allow the lid means to be fixed relative to the container such that the at least one partly removable region at least partly covers an aperture of a com partment of the container body.
23. A combination for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the combination comprising: a circular cylindrical body of cardboard or frangible material, two or more tablet receiving and dispensing inserts for introduction in the body and defining compartments each having an aperture, and a lid means for closing the ends of the body, the body comprising at least one at least partly removable region defined by weakening lines, the removable regions being disposed such that each remov able region upon being removed exposes an insert in the body for removal of the insert.
24. A sheet of flexible, relatively thin material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like for use in a method according to any of the claims 111 or in a combination according to any of the claims 1221 and having the features defined in any of the claims 121.
25. A holding means for use in a method according to any of the claims 111 or in a combination according to any of the claims 1221 and having the features defined in any of the claims 121.
26. A container for use in a method according to any of the claims 111 or in a combination according to any of the claims 1221 and having the features defined in any of the claims 121.
27. A body for use in a combination according to claim 23.
28. An insert for use in acombination according to claim 23.
Description:
A method, a combination and a container for dispensing medicinal tablets The present invention relates to a method of dispensing medicinal tablets, capsules and the like.

In connection with medical treatment of patients with medicinal tablets, capsules, pills and the like it is often desirable to provide tablets in a common container therefor for being ingested by the patient at two or more different points in time in such a manner that the patient or a helper may easily and reliably identify the por- tion of the tablets to be dispensed from the container at the correct point in time and ensure a reliable, safe and convenient method for only removing the relevant por- tion of the tablets from the container without substantial risk of removing more than the relevant portion of tablets from the container. In this connection it is also desir- able to afford a simple and reliable method of inserting the various portions of tab- lets in the container such that the desired distribution of the tablets in the container for such dispensing thereof may be achieved.

A rectangular dispensing container for medicinal tablets is known where the con- tainer is subdivided into a row of four upwardly open compartments identified by preprinted indicia such as morning, lunch, dinner, night and so on. A slideable transparent lid may be slid across the top of the container along the row of com- partments so as to obstruct the compartments after filling same with tablets. The compartments are emptied of tablets one by one by sliding the lid more or less off the container depending on the compartment to be emptied. This known dispensing container and the method of dispensing tablets therewith can be difficult to operate correctly by a weak or handicapped patient thereby running the risk of spilling tab- lets because of sliding the lid off too far and exposing more than the relevant com- partment or, far worse, delivering a double, triple or even quadruple dose of tablets at one time.

The object of the present invention is to provide a method for achieving the desir- able effects described above without the disadvantages of the above known

method, and according to the invention this is obtained by the method comprising the steps of: -providing a container having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments each having at least one aperture, -providing at least one sheet of relatively thin tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like, -providing a holding means for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substantially cov- ered by the at least one sheet, -introducing tablets in at least one of the compartments, -arranging the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container or the holding means -arranging the holding means such with relation to the container that the at least one sheet is fixed in place thereby such that the aperture of the at least one compartment is substantially covered by the at least one sheet for enclosing the tablets in the compartment, -dispensing the tablets from a compartment by perforating and/or tearing and/or removing at least part of the portion of the sheet covering the aperture of the compartment so as to allow access to the tablets in the compartment for re- moval thereof from same.

Hereby there is achieved a method whereby various tablets may be distributed in the two or more compartments according to a course of medical treatment, and the compartments may be sealed off by a nurse or the like whereafter the individual compartments may reliably be opened one by one by the patient or a helper by perforating, tearing and/or removing part of the sheet so as to gain access to a

compartment at the prescribed point in time. The risk of spilling or mixing tablets from more than one compartment is greatly reduced.

According to the invention, the sheet may be provided with information indicia such as printing, handwriting, braille markings and the like prior to and/or after being ar- ranged across the aperture or apertures. Hereby, the correct dispensing time for each portion of tablets is indicated on the element to be manipulated for dispensing the correct tablets.

Preferably, the indicia comprise identification of the aperture or apertures such as dispensing time, contents and the like and/or identification of the calendar day, weekday and the like and/or identification of the person to which the tablets are to be dispensed and/or name of dispensing institution and the like.

Advantageously, the holding means may comprise defining portions for defining ac- cess regions in the holding means at least partly corresponding to the apertures of the compartments, the access regions giving access to the sheet for perforating and/or tearing and/or removal of at least a portion of the sheet.

According ot the invention, the sheet may provided with a tab adjacent the portion of the sheet to be torn or removed, the method furthermore comprising the step of gripping and pulling the tab for tearing and/or removing said portion of the sheet prior to dispensing the tablets from the relevant compartment.

In a currently preferred embodiment of the invention, the sheet is provided with weakening lines such as perforations, scorings and the like for predetermining the lines along which the sheet may be torn, perforated and/or removed, and the hold- ing means is attached to the container by an attachment means allowing relative movement of the holding means relative to the container for allowing introduction of the tablets in the compartments such as a hinge means, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating fixing means for fixing the holding means with relation to the container.

Alternatively, the holding means is totally detachable from the container, and the holding means and the container are provided with cooperating coupling means for fixedly coupling the holding means to the container.

In the currently preferred embodiment of the invention said sheet is a separate sheet, the method further comprising the step of fixing the sheet in relation to the container and holding means by mutually engaging the cooperating fixing means or coupling, and preferably, the sheet is fixedly attached to the holding means prior to mutually engaging the fixing or coupling means.

According to the preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention the coupling means or the fixing means are provided with means to indicate unauthor- ized access to the tablet compartments by detaching the holding means from the container after the tablets have been inserted in the compartments and the coupling or fixing means have been mutually engaged.

The present invention also relates to a combination for dispensing medicinal tab- lets, pills, capsules and the like, and according ot the invention the combination comprises a container having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing com- partments each having an aperture, at least one relatively thin, flexible sheet of tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like and a holding means for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substan- tially covered by the at least one sheet.

Furthermore, the invention relates to a combination for dispensing medicinal tab- lets, pills, capsules and the like, the combination according to the invention com- prising: -a container comprising a body having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments each having an aperture and a holding means connected to the body by flexible connecting means allowing relative movement of the holding means relative to the body, and

-at least one relatively thin, flexible sheet of tearable or perforatable material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like, the holding means being adapted for holding the at least one sheet on or adjacent the container such that the apertures of the compartments are substantially covered by the at least one sheet.

Additionally the invention relates to a container for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the container according to the invention comprising a body having two or more tablet receiving and dispensing compartments each hav- ing an aperture and a lid means connected to the body by flexible connecting means allowing relative movement of the lid means relative to the body, the lid means comprising at least one at least partly removable region comprising thinner material or defined by weakening lines, the connecting means being adapted to al- low the lid means to be fixed relative to the container such that the at least one partly removable region at least partly covers an aperture of a compartment of the container body.

Moreover, the present invention relates to a combination for dispensing medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and the like, the combination axccording to the invention comprising: -a circular cylindrical body of cardboard or frangible material, -two or more tablet receiving and dispensing inserts for introduction in the body and defining compartments each having an aperture, and -a lid means for closing the ends of the body, the body comprising at least one at least partly removable region defined by weak- ening lines, the removable regions being disposed such that each removable region upon being removed exposes an insert in the body for removal of the insert.

Finally the invention relates to a sheet of flexible, relatively thin material such as paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film and the like, a holding means, a container, a body and an insert, all for use in a method according to the invention and/or in a combination and/or in a container according to the invention.

In the following, various embodiments of the method, combinations, containers and devices according to the invention will be described solely by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: Fig. 1 shows an isometric schematic view of a combination according to the inven- tion with a sheet according to the invention ready to be arranged between a con- tainer according to the invention and a holding means according to the invention hingedly attached to the container, Fig. 2 shows a schematic top view of the embodiment in Fig. 1 without the sheet, Fig. 3 shows an elevational schematic view of the container according to the inven- tion shown i Fig. 1, Figs 4 and 5 show a schematic cross-section through and an end view, respective- ly, of the container and lid in Fig. 1 in the close relationship thereof, Fig. 6 shows an exploded schematic and diagrammatic view of a second embodi- ment of a combination according to the invention, Fig. 7 shows a schematic and diagrammatic perspective view of a third embodiment of a combination according to the invention in the condition ready for use, Fig. 8 shows an elevational schematic and diagrammatic view of a fourth embodi- ment of a combination according to the invention,

Fig. 9 shows an elevational schematic and diagrammatic view of a first embodiment of a container according to the invention illustrating the use thereof, Fig. 10 shows an elevational schematic and diagrammatic view of a second second embodiment of a container according to the invention, Fig. 11 shows a partial cross-sectional schematic and diagrammatic view of the embodiment of Fig. 10, Fig. 12 shows an alternative cross-sectional schematic and diagrammatic view of the embodiment of Fig. 10, Fig. 13 shows a schematic and diagrammatic view of a fifth embodiment of a com- bination according to the invention, Fig. 14 shows cross-sectional views of the embodiment of Fig. 13 illustrating a way of removing the tablets from the compartments, and Figs. 15-16 show schematic and diagrammatic views of a container according to the container in open and closed condition, respectively.

Referring now to Figs 1-5, a container having a body 1 is provided with compart- ments 2 separated by lands 3. Locking apertures 4 are provided along an edge of the body 1. A lid or holding means 5 is hingedly attached to the container body 1 at the opposite edge thereof by means of a hinge web 7 and comprises arms 6 having angled projections 8 opposite the hinge web 7 and a transparent window 9 in one of the arms 6 at one end of the lid or holding means 5. The arms 6 are furthermore provided with hook means 11 for engaging in the locking apertures 4 for locking the lid in the closed position thereof relative to the container body 1 when the lid is swung about the hinge web 7 into the closed position shown in figs 4 and 5.

A sheet 12 of flexible paper, cardboard, tin foil, aluminum foil, plastic film or the like is provided with weakening lines 13 such as perforations defining tear-off portions

14 of the sheet provided with gripping tabs 15 for being gripped by a user's fingers for tearing off the tear-off portions 14. Guiding and positioning apertures 16 are pro- vided in the sheet for collaboration with guiding and positioning pins 17 (fig. 2) pro- vided on two lands 3 of the body 1, apertures 18 for receiving pins 17 being pro- vided at corresponding positions in two of the arms 6 of the lid 5. Locking grooves 19 extending longitudinally of the arms 6 are provided in the lid 5 for cooperation with corresponding locking ridges 20 provided longitudinally of the lands 3 of the body 1 so as to lock the sheet 12 in place.

In use, medicinal tablets either of one type or of different types are distributed in the four compartments 2 according to the course of medical treatment chosen for a pa- tient for dispensing for example morning, lunch, dinner and night, respectively. A nurse, for example, writes the relevant points in time on the respective tear-off por- tions of the sheet 12 and for example the name of the patient on the portion 14a of the sheet. The sheet is arranged on the body 1 of the container such that the posi- tioning pins 17 are inserted in the positioning apertures 16 of the sheet 12 so as to correct position the sheet relative to the body 1 with the tear-off portions 14 cov- ering the apertures of the compartments 2 and the portion 14a of the sheet abutting a support surface 10 of the body 1. The lid or holding means 5 is thereafter swung about the hinge web 7 such that the hooks 11 engage in the locking apertures 4, thereby sandwiching the sheet 12 between the arms 6 and the lands 3 with the gripping tabs 15 projecting beyond the rim of the body 1.

The combination according to the invention is now ready for dispensing tablets to the patient according to the time indications marked on the tear-off portions 14. The name of the patient, for example, indicated on the portion 14a of the sheet may be viewed through the viewing window 9 of the lid 5 such that a correct correlation between the dispensing container and the patient may be carried out reliably. At the correct point in time, for example at lunch, the gripping tab 15 corresponding to the tear-off portion marked"lunch"is gripped by the patient or a helper and by pulling up on the tab 15 the corresponding tear-off portion 14 will be torn up and perhaps off thereby exposing the tablets in the corresponding compartment for removal and ingestion by the patient.

The abutment of the arms 6 against the sheet in the regions between the weaken- ing lines 13 and the locking of the sheet 12 between the locking grooves 19 and locking ridges 20 ensures reliable tearing off of the portions 14 along said weaken- ing lines 13. The angle projections 8 ensure that the edge region of the sheet 12 containing the gripping tabs 15 is bent downwards such that the tabs 15 do not project from the rim but rather are arranged parallel to the lateral walls of the com- partments 2 (Fig. 4) so that accidental ripping off of the tear-off portions 14 is pre- vented.

The design and the engagement of the hooks 11 in the apertures 4 may be such that the container may be opened again without damage thereto so that the con- tainer may be used several times with new sheets 12. The design and engagement of the hooks may alternatively be such that opening of the lid 5 after the container has been prepared for dispensing tablets will break off the hooks or in some other known way indicate that the lid 5 has been opened thereby preventing or indicating unauthorized access to the compartments. The latter construction will thus be suited for use a single time and thus constitutes a disposable dispensing container having the additional advantage of not requiring cleaning before repeated use. Any suitable conventional tamper-evident or tamper-proof means may naturally be em- ployed in connection with this embodiment of the invention.

The hooks 11 may alternatively be designed as a resilient double hook with two branches as in a Y-configuration each ending in a barb-like projection. The hook 11 may be inserted in the apertures 4 by the branches flexing towards each other whereafter the branches separate because of the resiliency and therefore a hook 11 cannot be pulled out of the corresponding aperture without breaking off the barb- like projections and indicating that the lid has been opened after having been closed.

The material of the container 1 and the lid may be any suitable material such as polypropylene, cardboard, sheet metal, and the hinge 7 may be designed in any suitable manner. It will be clear to those skilled in the art that many variations of

shape, holding means, number and arrangement of compartments etc. are possible without departing from the scope of the invention. Thus, two or more rows of com- partments may be arranged in the body 1, the gripping tabs and tear-off lines being correspondingly suitably adapted.

Referring now to Fig. 6 showing an exploded schematic view of a second embodi- ment of a combination according to the invention, the same reference numbers are utilized to denote analogous elements of the combination. The container body 1 having four compartments 2 and lands 3 therebetween and encircling the compart- ments 2 is provided with locking apertures 4 for collaborating with hook means 11 of a lid or holding means 5 comprising on or frame elements 6a for clamping a sheet 12 against the lands 3. The sheet 12 is provided with weakening lines 13 de- fining rectangular tear-off portions 14 having indicia 14b written or printed thereon.

The sheet is further provided with guiding and positioning apertures 16 through which the hooks 11 are inserted for fixing the sheet relative to the lid 5 and the container body 1 when assembling the combination after having inserted tablets in the various compartments 2 corresponding to the medicinal course and thus the in- dicia 14b. Access to the tablets in the various compartments 2 is achieved by pressing the tear-off portion downwards into the compartment 2 such that the weakening lines tear apart whereby the tear-off portion 14 of the sheet 12 may be either removed or pushed aside giving access to the tablets in the compartment in question.

Referring now to Fig. 7 showing a third embodiment of a combination according to the invention in fully assembled condition, the body 1 of the container has a circular cylindrical shape the compartments (not shown) therein being quadrants of a circle corresponding to the tear-off portions 14 of the sheet 12 defined by weakening lines 13 and held in place by arms 6 of lid 5 locked into place in a manner very similar to the embodiment shown in fig. 6. In this embodiment gripping tabs 15 of the sheet 12 project outside the rim of the body 1.

Referring now to Fig. 8 showing a fourth embodiment of a combination according to the invention, the body of the container is rectangular having turned-in longitudinal

edges 20 forming longitudinal grooves 21 for receiving the edge of a holding means 5 sandwiching the sheet 12 having tear-out portions 14 defined by weakening lines 13 against lands (not shown) of the body 1. In use, tablets are distributed in the three compartments corresponding to the three tear-out portions 14 separated by lands (not shown) of the container body. Thereafter the sheet 12 is arranged on the body 1 or on the holding means 5 by means of any suitable positioning means whereafter the lid or holding means 5 is inserted in the grooves 21 such that the sheet 12 is sandwiched therebetween and the lands 3. Removal of the tablets is carried out by pressing down on the tear-out portions 14 by means of a finger F, thereby gaining access to the tablets. The holding means 5 and the sheet may be formed integrally or by bonding such that the tear-out portions 14 constitute weak- ened portions of the lid 5, for example by bonding a sheet 12 of tearable material to the frame-like holding means.

Referring now to Figs. 13 and 14 showing a fifth embodiment of a combination acording to the invention comprising a container with a rectangular body 1 defining three comparments 2, a U-shaped upper rim 22 defining a U-shaped groove 23 for receiving a lid 5 whereupon a sheet having tear-off portions 14 defined by weaken- ing lines 13 is attached either integrally or by bonding or by simply pressing the sheet against the lid. When the lid is fully inserted in the U-shaped groove 23, ap- ertures 16 in the lid 5 and, in the case of a separate sheet 12 bonded or held against the lid 5 also in said sheet, engage positioning pins 17 for locking the lid and sheet in place across the compartment previously filled with tablets. For re- moving the tablets for dispensing same, the tear-out portions 14 may either be re- moved by pressing downwards with a finger or as shown in Fig. 14, in case the body is made of a flexible material such as rubber or the like, by pressing on the bottom of the body below a compartment 2 such that the pills are pressed out through the corresponding tear-out portion 14.

Referring now to Fig. 15, an integral container comprises a body 1 having four compartments 2 and an integrally formed lid 5 hinged at 7 to the body 1 and having tear-out portions 14 defined by weakening lines 13. After inserting tablets in the comparments 2 the lid is closed by swinging it about the hinge and a tag 30 at-

tached to the body is inserted in a correspondingly shaped slit 31 in the lid 5. Re- moval of a tablet for dispensing same is carried out by engaging the apertures 35 in each tear-out portion and pulling up on the portion whereby it is removed. The en- tire container with lid and tear-out portion as well as projection 30 may be made of cardboard.

Referring now to Fig. 9, a container for dispensing tablets is shown comprising five circular cylindrical segments each having at a first axial end a reduced diameter section 41 with external thread and at the opposite second axial end having an in- creased inner diameter section 42 with an inner thread for engaging the external thread of an adjacent segment 40. A circular sheet 42 of material is arranged in the second axial end section 42 of a first segment 41 filled with tablets whereafter the first axial end section 41 of the next segment 40 is threaded into the second end section of the first segment thereby trapping and fixing the circular sheet 43 in place across the aperture between the first and next segment.

The segments 40 are marked"1"to"5"and the first end section of segment"5"is threaded into an end cap 44 having an interna thread identical with inner thread 42 of the segments. Thereafter the relevant tablet or tablets are inserted in the seg- ment"5", the corresponding circular sheet 43 is inserted in the internally threaded end of said segment and thereafter the externally threaded end of segment"4"is screwed into the internally threaded end og segment"5"thereby trapping and fixing the sheet 43 in place against an annular shoulder (not shown) formed at the transi- tion between the threaded larger inner diameter section and the normal diameter section of the segment"5". The tablets are thus contained in segment"5"between the end cap 44 and the sheet 43. This process is repeated for the rest of the seg- ments, the sheet 43 of the segment"1"being held in place by a second externally threaded end cap 44 which also may replace the sheet 43 for this segment.

The dispensing container is now ready for dispensing tablet according to indicia marked on the various segments either pre-printed or by hand. The first portion of tablets from segment"1"is removed by unscrewing the end cap 44 and removing the corresponding sheet 43 from the section 42 of that segment thereby allowing

removal of the tablets in that segment. For dispensing the tablets in segment"2", the segment"1"is unscrewed and so on until all segments are empty.

Tamper-evidence may be established by providing the boundaries between the segments and between the end caps and the segments with a known tamper-evi- dent means such as frangible tape etc.

Referring now to Figs. 10-12, a container for dispensing tablets is shown compris- ing a circular cylindrical body 50 with one end open and the opposite end closed and having circumferential weakening lines such as perforations, scorings and the like allowing the body 50 to be broken apart into segments marked"1"to"4"and an end cap 52.

Circular cylindrical inserts 54 comprising two opposite open compartments 56 and 57 separated by a partition 55 and having an axial length substantially equal to the axial distance between the weakening lines 51 are inserted in the body 50 are in- serted in the body through the open end thereof, tablets being introduced in the compartments 56 prior to insertion of the corresponding insert 54. When all inserts 54 with tablets have been inserted in the body 50, the open end of the body may be closed by a cap or any other closure means.

When dispensing the tablets, the body 50 is broken apart along the weakening lines thereby allowing an insert 54 to be removed exposing the tablets in the next insert for dispensing and ingestion thereof.

So as to avoid that the inserts 54 may be removed all at once when the end of the body has been opened, the inserts may have radially resilient barbs or hooks 58 at the leading edge thereof for engaging corresponding internal locking recesses or an internal sharp-edged locking groove 59 adjacent the weakening lines 51 when the insert is in its correct place in the body 50, the barbs or hooks not allowing removal of the insert except by breaking the body apart along the weakening lines thereby releasing the engagement between the barbs 58 and the locking groove 59.

Fig. 12 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the body and inserts, the same ref- erence numerals indicating analogous elements.

This embodiment of the container according to the invention is particularly well-. suited for pre-packaged tablets, the body being of cardboard or frangible plastic material.

The described and shown embodiments of methods, combinations and containers according to the invention are only to be considered as examples as numerous modifications and variations thereof are conceivable for those skilled in the art with- out departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended patent claims.