Technology to Improve Adherence to Injectible Medications

Raise your hands: How many of you forget to give yourself your MS injections occasionally? How many of you have had things come up that prevent you from injecting when you were supposed to? How many of you just can't bring yourselves to do it some days? (You don't have to answer that last one.)
 
I'll admit that I can answer "yes" to all of the above. I'm pretty sure that I am not alone in this, either.
 
While not directly related to MS (yet), I was pretty excited to read about a new microchip drug delivery device that just went through its first trial successfully. The device, developed by a company called MicroCHIPS, Inc., was used in a trial to collect data about the pharmokinetics of the osteoporosis drug, teriparatide as it was released from the implant. Under normal circumstances, the drug has to be injected daily. The trial took place over a month in seven post-menopausal women diagnosed with osteoporosis.
 
Not only was the dosing method found to be just as effective as daily subcutaneous injections, the device was found to be safe with no adverse reaction to the implant. Furthermore, the trial provided proof-of-concept data that indicated that this device could be viable – reliable and durable – for at least a year or more.
 
The microchip device seems easy enough to deal with – it is implanted and explanted (taken out) using local anesthetic. The people who participated in the study said that they would repeat the implant procedure. The implant procedure lasts less than 30 minutes, and trial participants were "able to walk out of the facility and go home unescorted."
 
Not only that, the dosing can be adjusted wirelessly and (get this), docs can track dosing schedules and adjust them remotely.
 
MicroCHIPS plans to file for regulatory approval for its first microchip device in 2014. The company is working on new designs of the device so that it will be able to deliver daily doses for one year or less frequent doses over several years. Although there are still many steps left before FDA approval is granted, the lead author of the study, Robert Farra, (also MicroCHIPS President and Chief Operating Officer), says that the company is intending to develop a "range of products for use in important disease areas such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and chronic pain."
 
Certain components of microchip technology, such as the micro reservoirs that hold the medicine and the first microchip opening mechanism, were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and licensed to MicroCHIPS.
 
The whole concept sounds pretty good to me. I'd happily submit to one "procedure" a year than the daily shots that I am supposed to give myself. What about you? Would you grab the chance to forget about injections for a year, but still know that you were getting your medication? Or would you prefer to skip the idea of implanting something into your body and stick with the needles that you are already used to? I'm anxious to know what you think – post your comment below.
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Julie

Julie Stachowiak, PhD

Julie is the author of the Multiple Sclerosis Manifesto, the winner of the 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Health Category. She is an epidemiologist who is also a person living with MS, Julie has an in-depth understanding about current research and scientific developments around MS. She also has first-hand knowledge of the frustrations and anxiety surrounding the disease, as she had MS for at least 15 years before receiving a diagnosis in 2003 and has had several relapses since her diagnosis.

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