The world’s understanding of pharmacokinetics has changed over the years. Given the different demands in the world of medicine, researchers are now trying to find new ways to deliver drugs into the body.
These findings can be beneficial to patients in many ways. For instance, there are patients who are sensitive to drugs taken orally—they may experience an upset stomach or another form of gastrointestinal distress. Finding an alternate route of administration can make taking medications less of a hassle to these patients. It is possible that new methods of drug delivery have the potential to eliminate more serious side effects. Below, I've outlined six fascinating new ways drugs are delivered into the body.
1. Expanding Ring Pills
The expanding ring is a great way to prolong the effects of oral pills. The usual problem with oral pills is that the medicine is usually flushed by the body too quickly. With the help of researchers from Lyndra, a Cambridge biotech startup, expanding rings help to prevent this problem.
Upon swallowing, expanding ring pills transform. Once one reaches a patient's stomach, it transforms into an expanding ring. This allows the pill to have a prolonged effect on the body. According to researchers, it can continuously deliver the drug for as long as a week.
2. Oral Transmucosal Drug Delivery
Oral transmucosal drug delivery is now catching the attention of leading researchers in pharmacology, especially in the world of pediatric medicine.
What exactly makes it an attractive option for pediatrics? Poor oral bioavailability and the need for a faster effect are among the most common reasons doctors have preferred to use oral transmucosal drug delivery on children. Plus, this route skips the hepatic first pass metabolism.
Another drug delivery system that is still in its experimental stage is the use of implants under the skin. It has been tested in patients suffering from opioid addiction and has successfully dispensed for the duration of six months.
4. Remote Drug Delivery
The treatment of neurologic disorders can be tricky. Aside from psychoanalysis and behavioral therapy, it is also imperative to take the pharmaceutical approach, especially if it involves a biological explanation. However, a lot of these drugs carry side effects.
Researchers at Washington University, University of Illinois, and The University of Colorado developed a drug that can be delivered via remote control. It works by being implanted inside the brain and precisely delivers drugs on specific regions using a remote control. It bypasses other regions of the brain, which helps to lessen side effects.
5. Microneedle Patch
Researchers from Osaka University in Japan developed a revolutionary way to deliver drugs into the body, even in the absence of a medical professional. It is an experimental microneedle patch that delivers a flu vaccine without the need for needles or trained medical personnel.
6. Peritoneal Implants
Tumor removal can either be invasive, or it can affect other healthy cells, especially if it is cancerous. Researchers at MIT are looking into the possibility of minimizing the damage of treating a tumor. What they’ve come up with is a tiny device that has been tested on breast cancer patients. They use a multi-drug that works specifically on the tumor.
With this technology, it can help prevent the usual side effects of chemotherapy. This particular technology can dispense small doses of up to 30 different drugs.
As you can see, the arena of drug delivery is filled with opportunities for innovation. Researchers and scientists are discovering alternative routes of delivery for both new and existing drugs.