New ‘Microneedles Pill’ Could Replace Needles For Injectable Medications
Injections using needles will become a story of the past once the ‘Microneedles Pill’ is introduced. Personally I hate needles because they are painful and very risky in case the needle has not been sterilized. Some nurses are normally reckless when administering a drug using them.
Carl Schoellhammer, a chemical engineering graduate student at MIT dislikes shots and explains that they are horrible and cause major civic problems. Carl for his graduate research decided to do something about the use of syringes and needles. He invested microneedles pill that can be swallowed and won a $15,000 Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize for his invention.
The Microneedles Pill is simply a capsule covered in tiny needles and coated in a “pH responsive coating” that makes it easier to swallow. Schoellhammer wants the pills to replace traditional injections, not the aspirin in your medicine cabinet. Many injectable medications particularly biologics are made from proteins that if taken in pill form, would be broken down by the digestive system before they made it to the bloodstream.
Schoellhammer urges people to think of the Microneedles Pill as “injections from the inside.” The stainless-steel needle-spiked capsule is filled with the desired medication in the needed dose. Once the patient swallows it and the pill arrives in the gut, its protective coating dissolves and allows the hollow needles to poke around, delivering the medication directly to the bloodstream with much less pain than the traditional shot.
Safety precautions have been taken and a number of tests done in animals that registered success in both safety and results. If that’s still too scary, there’s another version in development that uses solid needles made of sugar infused with the drug and the end result is the same. Schoellhammer has only built one version of the pill so far. He plans to create subsequent models that improve on the original, but, he says that there are no technological hurdles. It’s a little capsule with little needles sticking on the outside.
I believe the success of Schoellhammer research will be of great advantage to the larger society including doctors and patients. Many cases are on the raise in regards to medical negligence where needles stick in the patient’s body leading to many complications. Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 needle stick injuries take place each year in the health care industry, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries are caused by such needles as hypodermic needles, blood collection needles, intravenous (IV) stylets and needles used to connect parts of IV delivery systems. Such injuries expose patients and health care workers to potentially fatal diseases from blood-borne pathogens including diphtheria, herpes, malaria and syphilis.