Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Brandon Martin/Rice University

Avoiding missed medicines with microparticles

Health & Wellbeing

To stop us missing our medication, researchers use modern technology that aims to deliver time-release drugs


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Spotted: Remembering to take your medication is hard enough as it is, let alone taking it correctly: with food, at the right time, without grapefruit juice – the list goes on. But this can have severe consequences. In fact, in the US alone, failing to take prescription medicine, or taking it incorrectly, reportedly causes over 100,000 deaths every year. Hoping to resolve this is a team of bioengineers from Rice University, with their advanced technology that can make time-release drugs

The technology, called PULSED (Particles Uniformly Liquified and Sealed to Encapsulate Drugs), uses 3D printing and a stamping technique to produce over 300 small, non-toxic, biodegradable cylinders that can be injected using a standard hypodermic needle. Encapsulating the medicine in microparticles like this means it can dissolve over time and release the medication in doses. 

Talking about the issues that PULSED could solve when treating chronic diseases, Kevin McHugh, author of the study, said: “It’s estimated that 50 per cent of people don’t take their medications correctly. With this, you’d give them one shot, and they’d be all set for the next couple of months.” 

Although PULSED is yet to be tested for months-long release delays, McHugh claims that different studies from other labs have shown that the capsules can be made to release drugs up to six months after injection.  

Springwise has previously spotted other innovations that aim to help people take their medication correctly, including an app that allows patients and doctors to keep track of their drugs and another platform that rewards people for taking their medication on time.

Written By: Georgia King




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