Drug Delivery of the Future Could Mean Better Adherence

For clinicians, one of the problems with medication adherence is that patients may have difficulties with pharmacological therapy unrelated to the drug itself; patients may have difficulty in swallowing pills that can hinder the start or continuation of their treatment. Certain medications like biologic agents require administration via injection, which could be a barrier for patients with a fear of needles or prefer other delivery methods. However, in recent years significant advances have been made to improve the delivery of drugs by alternate routes. Of particular interest is the use of so-called “microneedles”, in which extremely small needles are utilized to safely and effectively deliver drugs directly to the stomach lining from capsules or under the top layer of skin via a patch. Most of these alternate drug delivery systems are still in the experimental stages, but in the coming years a pill or patch could replace certain injections as the primary mode of transit for many medications that typically require subcutaneous administration like insulin and vaccines.