Overcoming a Fear of Needles: High-Tech Solutions Help

Annaleise was 10 years old in Australia when she first realized she was afraid of needles. As she grew older, her fear grew to the point where she avoided medical treatment altogether and fell years behind with her vaccinations, according to an ABC News report. Annaleise’s story might not be that uncommon: according to the report, some experts say it affects up to five percent of the population.

Very few people enjoy having injections, but for those with needle phobia it’s more than feeling a bit uncomfortable at the thought of getting a vaccination. These people experience symptoms of anxiety and panic, which may include racing heart, chest pain, hot and cold flashes, dizziness or nausea, ABC reports.

“As bad as needle phobia can be when it manifests itself occasionally, imagine what patients face when they have a condition that entails self-injection at home,” says Joe Reynolds, Research Manager of Noble International Inc., a developer of patient-centric, advanced drug delivery system trainers custom-built for the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies and original equipment manufacturers. “In these cases, advances in self-injection trainers can prove to be a tremendous help.”

Cutting-edge innovations in self-injection technology are making it easier than ever to give patients the training they need to feel self-confident. These new devices can give patients an extraordinarily realistic training experience during the first 30, 60 or 90 days of their use of a drug delivery device (their “onboarding” period)—and empower them to lead healthier lives.

For example, Noble has developed patient-centric training devices that replicate the appearance, sound and feel of actual autoinjectors and prefilled syringes down to the smallest detail, offering a vivid experience for the patient. Separately, Noble has developed “smart” adherence devices that can provide instantaneous feedback to the user, in real time, on how well the procedure is being performed and issue a warning if there is a problem.

Noble’s autoinjector trainers and prefilled syringe trainers incorporate a range of high-tech features, such as the ability to replicate the viscosity of liquid drugs and plunger speed; provide adjustable audible feedback that mimics the sound of an actual drug delivery device; and incorporate the realistic feel of an actual injector tip on the skin. The company also offers a syringe angle aid training tool, designed as a way for patients to learn the correct angle for subcutaneous injection using a precisely measured channel as a guide. In a study conducted by Noble and presented at an industry conference in 2015, drug delivery devices with needle simulation technology was found to reduce anxiety compared to traditional training and no training.

“Giving patients who self-inject the confidence they need to do it right is a top priority, and new technology makes it possible,” adds Reynolds.