Getting Patients to Self-Administer Medication Correctly Is a Focus of Innovation

(DGIwire) – In the world of medicine, the level and variety of innovation today is truly unprecedented. As a recent article on noted, this is an era not only of gene and cancer immunotherapies but also therapeutics that are “digital” and “smart.” As the magazine explains, these aim to merge various smart devices with pharmaceutical products to improve data collection about patient adherence and provide a better experience for patients.

“In the drug delivery sector, smart therapeutics are being used to achieve a range of benefits, including improving patient outcomes,” says Joe Reynolds, Product Manager at Noble. “Pharmaceutical companies are finding that investing in the development of these kinds of therapeutics can pay off handsomely in the long run, as doctor and patients associate their smart products with a higher standard of care.”

This innovative approach is especially relevant thanks to the rise of medications that require patients to self-inject. In addition to the widespread issue of needle anxiety, there is also the need to ensure that patients have been adequately trained on how to use their devices prior to the start of treatment. Although training traditionally takes place in a healthcare provider’s office and patients may be supplied with Instructions for Use (IFU), studies have shown that a significant percentage of patients nevertheless initiate their course of self-injection without having mastered the proper technique. This can lead to less-than-optimal adherence and therapeutic outcomes.

To address this concern, Noble is at the forefront developing patient-centric advanced drug delivery system trainers for those who self-inject. The company has also aimed to incorporate digital and smart therapies into its trainers to improve patient outcomes. These incorporate a range of high-tech features including the ability to replicate the drug viscosity and plunger speed, provide adjustable audible feedback that mimics the sound of an actual drug delivery device, and incorporate the realistic feel of an actual injector tip on the skin. Needle simulation is designed to replicate the feel and forces involved in an injection.

In addition, Noble has developed adherence device accessories that detect and monitor each step of a self-injection and wirelessly collect data as the procedure occurs. They can provide the patient with reminders to error messages that pop up on a phone or tablet. The result of using these devices is that many apprehensive patients might feel more confident, as if a nurse were in the room to oversee their self-injections.

“What patients learn about self-injection during the first 30 to 90 days of treatment is vital to ensuring they are dosing themselves properly and completely, and using a trainer that incorporates smart features can maximize the odds they are on the right track,” Reynolds adds.