Microneedles: a new technique to administer arthritis drugs?

microneedle, arthritis drug, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis treatment, arthritis digestPeople with arthritis may one day receive their medication via microneedles, a team explains in a leading journal.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by chronic joint inflammation. At present, treatment mainly aims to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. New drugs have led to vastly better outcomes for people affected, but there is still room for improvement. For example:

  • Commonly used drugs such as NSAIDs, glucocorticoids, and DMARDs lack specificity and may require long-term, high-dose administration, which can cause adverse effects;
  • Some people find it difficult to comply with medication regimes because they don’t like injections. This reduces the effectiveness of treatment and is a waste of resources.

The answer could come in the form of microneedles. This is a way to administer drugs directly to the inflamed joints. The needles can get through the skin without stimulating nerves and blood vessels.

Patients are more likely to comply, drugs are more likely to work, and the consequence is improved health and cost savings.

The method is not yet ready to roll out but the researchers say after further testing they hope “to provide a new strategy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis”.

Click here to read the original research. 

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