In Favour of Needle-Free Injectables

November 26, 2012
Adeline Siew, PhD

Adeline Siew is editor for Pharmaceutical Technology Europe. She is also science editor for Pharmaceutical Technology.

No one likes needles, so imagine the benefits of needle-free delivery systems, especially for chronic conditions where lifetime therapy is required, for example rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

No one likes needles, so imagine the benefits of needle-free delivery systems, especially for chronic conditions where lifetime therapy is required, for example rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Patients already have enough stress to deal with and can definitely do without the added fear and anxiety associated with needles. Other advantages of course include the lack of contamination risks and needle stick injuries, plus disposals are easier when you don’t need a bin for sharps.

Zogenix and Battelle recently conducted a survey on more than 300 patients with RA to investigate the acceptability of self-injectable therapies. The survey was carried out to gain insights on what influenced preference, adoption and adherence to injectables, and how the availability of needle-free alternatives impact a patient’s willingness to use them. Preliminary results showed that 53% of patients were likely to accept a prescription for a self-injectable therapy. Not surprisingly, this figure increased to 70% when patients were offered a needle-free option.

45% of patients who participated in this survey had phobia of needles; results showed that 8% were ‘extremely’ needle-phobic, 14% considered themselves ‘very’ and 23% were ‘somewhat’ needle-phobia. Another important finding was that 20% would not consider self-injectable therapies.

Virginia Ladd, president of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, stated the obvious by saying in a press release that “the ability to increase adoption and adherence to medication in any capacity can significantly help to improve patient outcomes.” She added that drug developers should therefore consider all drug delivery alternatives that can improve adoption, adherence, and persistence with drug therapy.

Zogenix will be presenting detailed findings of this patient survey at the Injectable Drug Delivery 2013 conference, which will take place in London, UK on 5–6 March. Zogenix and Batelle have partnered in the co-development and co-marketing of Zogenix’s DosePro needle-free injection technology for the subcutaneous administration of pharmaceuticals. The first needle-free product commercialised is Sumavel DosePro (sumatriptan) for the treatment of migraine. The technology is also used in Zogenix’s investigational candidate Relday (risperidone) for schizophrenia.