Needle Free Injection Technology

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About Authors:
Nimisha Paharia, Ankit Mittal, Garvita Joshi

The pitfalls of needle-based injections are well known. A series of discoveries led to the development of the hypodermic needle which underwent significant changes. The first air-powered needle-free injection systems were developed during the 1940s and 1950s. Needle free delivery is done conveniently both for solids and liquids. Needle-free injection systems are typically made up of three components including an Injection device, disposable needle free syringe and air cartridge. Various needle free injectors are available in the market like Biojector, vitajet, iject, etc. These formulations are designed for better acceptability and patient convenience. They offer less pain and no needle phobia. They are ideally suited to chronic injections of varying doses of insulin, proteins and monoclonal antibodies.

Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1178

The demand for novel drug delivery technologies is ever increasing. These drug delivery technologies can be broadly classified into four principle routes like oral, transdermal, inhalation and parenteral. The main goal for the delivery of any drug therapy is oral administration with once or twice daily dosing. However, there are large numbers of therapies, particularly protein-based, gene-based; vaccine-based that cannot be delivered by this route for example insulin, growth hormones and other similar biologics.
Pulmonary delivery is another non-invasive alternative method that is suitable for small molecules and proteins. However, for drugs with very large molecular weights, such as monoclonal antibodies, penetration through the lung for systemic delivery may require some type of transport enhancement mechanism, of which there are several still at the primordial research stage. Therefore, most protein-based drugs are still being developed as injectables for initial market launch.
The pitfalls of needle-based injections are well known. Psychological resistances to self-injection or needle-phobia have been documented across large demographic groups, such as diabetics. The result of this phobia is that many outpatient injectables are dosed sub-optimally. Furthermore, awareness of serious problems has caused physicians and their patients to either delay therapy initiation or seek out less-invasive alternatives, even at some cost to clinical effectiveness.
For some, especially those suffering from chronic diseases requiring injectable products two or three times a day, this process is an ongoing reality of daily life for example diabetics-accepted, but always with the hope that something new will replace the ritual of needle insertion. To overcome the problems related to needle based injections, there is one technology that has received considerable attention during the past few years and that offers all of the sought after benefits is—Needle Free Injection Technology (NFIT).[1]

As long as drugs have been known to cure diseases, people have searched for better methods of delivering them. During the early nineteenth century researchers made a series of discoveries that eventually led to the development of the hypodermic needle by Alexander Wood in 1853. This device was used to give morphine to patients suffering from sleeping disorders. In subsequent years, the hypodermic needle underwent significant changes which made them more efficient to use, safer, and more reliable. However, needles still have significant drawbacks which prompted researchers to find needle-free alternatives.
The first air-powered needle-free injection systems were developed during the 1940s and 1950s. These devices were gun-shaped and used propellant gases to force fluid medicines through the skin. Over the years, the devices have been modified to improve the amount and types of medicines delivered, and the efficiency and the ease of use.

Raw Material
Since these devices directly contact the body, they must be made from materials that are pharmacologically inert. The materials also must be able to withstand high temperatures because they are heat-sterilized. Air forced injection systems are available in different shapes and sizes. The outer shell of the device is made from a high strength, lightweight thermoplastic such as polycarbonate. Polycarbonates are polymers produced synthetically through various chemical reactions. To make the polymer easier to mold, fillers are added. These fillers make plastics more durable, lightweight, and rigid. Colorants are also incorporated into the plastic to modify the appearance. Prior to manufacture, the plastics are typically supplied in pellet form with the colorants and fillers already incorporated. Air-forced systems typically use carbon dioxide or helium gas to propel the medicine into the body.

The three different types of injections:

Certain types of medicines work better with needle-free injection systems than other. Insulin, which must be administered daily to diabetics, can be incorporated into an inhaler system. Lidocaine hydrochloride, a local anesthetic is suitable to be delivered needle free. Other medicines suitable for needle free systems include Fentanyl (an opioid analgesic), Heparin (an anticoagulant) and a variety of vaccines. Various adjunct ingredients included in these medicines include cyclodextrins, lactose, liposomes, amino acids and water.[2]



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