Painless Injections: An Alternative To Needles
For most of us, getting an injection is a less-than-inviting experience. Many of us dread shots, or injections of medication directly into the bloodstream. Those who aren’t blessed with “easy-to-access” veins may be subjected to several attempts by medical personnel, some of whom are less skilled – and empathetic – than others. Diabetes sufferers and others who require daily injections may find them difficult to handle, and some people have to administer them themselves.
All the above have prompted Israel’s TransPharma Medical to spend close to a decade perfecting its ViaDerm Drug Delivery System, a “painless aplicator that never misses its mark”. The ViaDerm system “is ideal for a wide range of medications and treatments,” says Dr. Daphna Heffetz, TransPharma’s CEO.
The ViaDerm system uses of basic principles of diffusion to push medication into the bloodstream. While most injected medications are pushed directly into the bloodstream or under the skin (subcutaneous) via a needle – it turns out that there is another way to move medication into the bloodstream.
Below the outer layers of skin (the epidermis) lies the dermis, which contains elaborate networks of blood capillaries, and comes into direct contact with the epidermis. The ViaDerm system creates micro-channels through the outer layer of skin, allowing the medication to diffuse through them into the dermis and from there to seep into the blood system via the capillaries.
The system itself consists of a reusable battery-operated, handheld electronic control unit, a disposable low-cost microelectrode array and a patch containing a drug. The patient first snaps the array onto the controller, pressing it gently on the skin to create the micro-channels. The patch is then folded onto the micro-channel area, and the drug passively diffuses through them into the inner skin layer, and from there to the systemic circulation. When you’re done, you put away the control unit and dispose of the array and the patch. It’s easy, quick, painless, and effective.