Autoinjector Training May Lead to Patient Adherence

December 2, 2018
Jennifer Markarian
Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 42, Issue 12
Page Number: 38–39

Using training devices may ease patient anxiety about using autoinjectors and prefilled syringes, potentially leading to improved patient adherence.

Patient training devices used to ease anxiety related to the use of autoinjectors and prefilled syringes may offer industry data that can be used to develop and/or enhance these and other types of combination drug products. Pharmaceutical Technology spoke with Elizabeth Hawkins, Director of Marketing at Noble, about how Noble’s advanced, multisensory patient training devices may benefit industry and patients.

Patient training devices used to ease anxiety related to the use of autoinjectors and prefilled syringes may offer industry data that can be used to develop and/or enhance these and other types of combination drug products. Pharmaceutical Technology spoke with Elizabeth Hawkins, Director of Marketing at Noble, about how Noble’s advanced, multisensory patient training devices may benefit industry and patients.

The benefits of patient trainers

PharmTech: What are autoinjector and prefilled syringe trainers designed to do?

Hawkins (Noble): Pharmaceutical manufacturers, physicians, patient advocates, payers, and other industry stakeholders have come to realize the importance of training devices as an effective way of familiarizing patients with the experience of injection and overcoming such problems as needle anxiety. To combat these issues, Noble has developed drug delivery device trainers that replicate the appearance and functionality of real autoinjectors and prefilled syringes, including the sensation of the needle entering the skin. Additionally, Noble has incorporated ‘smart’ features into some of its autoinjector trainers that can work in tandem with smart devices to provide instructions and feedback in real time to patients and their doctors. The purpose is to support patients who self-inject by offering them the opportunity to practice before self-injecting, or even practice between doses to combat natural memory decay. By practicing with these trainers, patients understand what using the real device will feel like and gain valuable insights that can guide them when they actually self-inject.

Noble has conducted various studies on the benefits of trainers for patients. Some of the most striking statistics tell us that almost two-thirds-or 64%-of patients report having a training device to practice with at home would help decrease their anxieties around self-injecting. Likewise, 90% stated that, on a scale of 1–10 (with 10 being the highest), a training device is at least a 7 in terms of importance when learning to self-inject.

PharmTech: How do such training devices benefit manufacturers? 

Hawkins (Noble): Pharmaceutical manufacturers stand to benefit from the new generation of realistic trainers, as proper administration resulting from training may positively impact adherence and therapeutic effectiveness. As patients’ and prescribers’ positive perceptions of a combination product increase relative to the use of trainers, it can be argued that they will increase their usage of such a product and become brand-loyal. 

With clinical studies and smart training devices connected to a digital ecosystem, it is feasible for manufacturers to study the ways in which patients are utilizing trainers, observe the most common usage errors, and then seek to incorporate modifications (such as improved ergonomics) into the design of future generations of self-injectable devices with the goal of helping patients avoid usage errors.

PharmTech: With AdhereIT, data can be collected on actual injections as well as trainers. What was the reason for introducing this capability? How might these data be used?

Hawkins (Noble): Knowledge is power, and with the digital transformation of the healthcare infrastructure, there is critical information to be gained through monitoring patient adherence. An integrated data hub connecting pharma, insurance companies, and doctors with patients’ compliance data provides the ability for risk mitigation and opportunities to learn from patient treatment regimens.

An important part of monitoring adherence is ensuring patients continue to utilize autoinjector devices properly throughout each step of treatment. This starts with training and onboarding and is important all the way through the drug therapy treatment to ensure successful injection each time. The advantage presented by AdhereIT is that, by being compatible with a wide range of commercially available devices, data on continued usage can be collected regardless of the autoinjector platform.

Most obviously, for patients, the use of AdhereIT may provide the informative feedback that encourages them to follow prescribed dosing regimens for longer periods of time. For their part, healthcare practitioners can provide new patients with a tool that offers an added layer of assurance that self-injecting is being performed properly. The data collected by AdhereIT can be shared with the practitioner and reviewed for any irregularities that need to be discussed with the patient.

Combination product development

PharmTech: How might trainers be used in combination product development? 

Hawkins (Noble): Some of the top pharmaceutical companies have realized the value of incorporating realistic trainers into the commercialization and marketing strategy of their new drugs intended for self-administration. It is ideal to start development of a trainer as early in the process as possible-preferably in tandem with combination product development. This gives ample opportunity to collaborate on a variety of conceptual, technical, and logistical requirements regarding trainer design, development, manufacturing, and launch. For example, a pharmaceutical company can determine the precise specifications of the trainer, along with the specific mechanical and smart features they would like it to incorporate. 

Finally, the company can help shape the development of a global launch strategy for when the combination product is ready to go to market. With a pharmaceutical company’s success ultimately tied to the reception of each new drug, the availability of a realistic, multisensory training device could contribute significantly to a drug’s reception for both patients and healthcare practitioners. 

Successfully launching a combination product can be strengthened by the creation of a robust patient support program that aims to help patients with onboarding and beyond. 

Article Details

Pharmaceutical Technology
Vol. 42, No. 12
December 2018
Pages: 38–39

Citation

When referring to this article, please cite it as J. Markarian, “Autoinjector Training May Lead to Patient Adherence," Pharmaceutical Technology 42 (12) 2018.

download issueDownload Issue : Pharmaceutical Technology-12-02-2018