Studying the Benefits of Training for Those Who Self-Inject

(DGIwire)—For patients living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s or other autoimmune diseases, one of the hardest parts of dealing with the condition may be the need to self-inject medication. While doctors and nurses try to put patients at ease by demonstrating self-injection techniques in the office, there are many factors that may affect patients’ comfort injecting, such as needle anxiety, diminished memory recall and retention and device familiarity. Each of these poses the risk of patients self-injecting improperly or incompletely, or even avoiding treatment altogether.

“Training devices have been developed to emulate the look, feel and operation of autoinjectors, minus the needle, for the purpose of helping reinforce correct device administration techniques for patients prior to performing an actual self-injection,” says Joe Reynolds, research manager at Noble.

A recent longitudinal study sought to determine if patients with access to training materials outside a healthcare provider’s office would perform better than those with traditional training and no training device for practice. The study enrolled healthy adults with no professional medical training and split them into three cohorts. Each cohort first attended an in-office session demonstrating the proper use of a mechanical autoinjector training device—much like a patient would receive initially upon being prescribed a self-injection.

The first cohort was sent home with only a medication Instructions for Use (IFU); the second cohort was sent home with a mechanical trainer and a training IFU; and the third cohort was sent home with a mechanical trainer, training IFU and an interactive training video. Participants used the support materials to prepare for or practice self-injecting on their own for 14 days. Upon returning for a follow-up session, they were asked to conduct a simulated injection using a real autoinjector and injection pad.

What researchers found demonstrates the importance of training devices for patients. Participants who had a training device on hand at home significantly increased how often they chose to prepare for self-injecting over the 14 days. Cohorts B and C—those with trainers—were able to prepare for and practice at home more than those who had just been sent home with the IFU leaflet alone. Findings from the study showed in both cohorts B and C that 100 percent of participants practiced at least three times over the two weeks. In Cohort B, slightly more than half practiced five to nine times, and approximately one-third practiced 10 or more times.

Findings were significant within Cohort C—those who took home IFUs, a training device and the video—as well. Eighty-three percent practiced five to nine times and, again, one-third practiced 10 or more times. Among several other key findings, researchers also found that using the training devices improved the study participants’ performance.

In addition to increased practice sessions, researchers found performance for cohorts B and C increased as well. Fifty-six percent of participants in Cohort A made critical mistakes during the follow-up sessions, but 100 percent of cohorts B and C completed all critical steps for a successful self-injection.

Finally, the most compelling statistic shows that the vast majority, or 92 percent, of participants stated they would prefer having a training device to practice with prior to conducting a self-injection.

“When anxiety over self-injection is diminished and patients have mastered the self-injection technique, they may have a higher likelihood of adhering to their treatment and obtaining the maximum benefit from it,” Reynolds adds.