Implantable Drug Delivery

November 12, 2009
Jill taylor

Jeffrey Borenstein wrote an interesting article published this month in IEEE Spectrum musing on our attempts to trump the pill as a drug delivery system. He introduces an implantable drug delivery device designed to hold up to a year's worth of medication, after which the patient could go through minor surgery to refill the reservoir.

I can always count on Consumer's Reports for entertainment as well as practical information. Here's an interesting tidbit: turns out some pets can catch swine flu from their owners. I don't know that this is big in the general media at this point, but if a worried mother approaches you about Fluffy's stuffy nose, you can assure her that there's not evidence to date that transmission works the other way around.

That's as much H1N1 news as I think I can stand for the week. On to some tech news.

Jeffrey Borenstein, the Director of the Biomedical Engineering Center at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, wrote an interesting article published this month in IEEE Spectrum musing on our attempts to trump the pill as a drug delivery system. He introduces an implantable drug delivery device designed to hold up to a year's worth of medication, after which the patient could go through minor surgery to refill the reservoir. Plus, the device is small enough to work in a guinea pig's ear.

This would have obvious benefits to someone who, say, has a chronic disease, but there may be an uphill battle convincing people that it trumps the pill in other situations regardless of the cost (I assume this kind of technology isn't cheap). It wouldn't be a stretch to say that most people would be "implant averse," no matter how cool the technology is. Still, the technology is cool, no doubt about it. Medgaget and Gizmo have both taken notice.

Also, in light of the FTC's new rules with regard to blogging, let me say that I have never received compensation from companies to mention their products on a blog. I apparently did not inherit the "financial savvy" gene, because it didn't occur to me to do that before reading the news that now I can't.

The FDA is encouraging healthcare professionals to report problems in treatment using external biphasic defibrillators delivering energy levels ≤ 200 J (including monitor/defibrillators and automated external defibrillators), particularly in cases in which the patient received shocks from multiple devices. The effects of various energy levels are relatively unknown, and the agency has received reports in which unsuccessful treatment with a 200 J biphasic defibrillator was followed by successful treatment at a higher energy level. There's nothing to suggest the need to change clinical practice, just an interest at this point.