Many of us accept that injections are a basic part of medical treatment. But for some, those sharp needles are more than just a source of medicine—they are a source of fear as well. When this condition—also known as “needle anxiety” or “injection anxiety”—occurs among patients who must utilize self-injecting drug delivery during a course of therapy, it can bring with it grave risks to their well-being. Here are three things to know about the fear of self-injecting with needles:
Multiple strategies exist to overcome the fear of self-injection: Specific steps that have been proposed to eliminate this fear include recognition and relaxation techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy; having a support person present during injection; and graded exposure, notes Medscape. “The use of innovative ‘onboarding’ programs and advances in drug delivery through the use of prefilled syringes and autoinjectors can also serve as an integral component to successful patient compliance,” 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.
Patients acknowledge increased training might decrease anxiety: 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. Sixty-four percent of users reported having a training device to practice with at home would help decrease anxiety, while 89 percent of users reported it is very important to have the most realistic training available. In addition to its drug delivery technology, Noble also offers a syringe angle aid training tool, designed to help patients learn the correct angle for subcutaneous injection using a precisely measured channel as a guide.
“Smart” trainers can provide real-time feedback to ensure proper use: Newly developed adherence devices outfitted with “smart” technology allow the patient to gauge just how well they are performing the steps of injection and give them information about their performance as it is happening in real-time. These automated innovations are designed to work with a patient’s smart devices to detect and monitor each step of their self-injection—and wirelessly collect data as it’s going on. They can provide the patient with everything from reminders to error messages that pop right up on their phone or tablet.
“The most important thing our devices can possibly do for patients is to provide them with a sense of self-confidence when it comes to their self-injections,” adds Mr. Reynolds. “Once they feel that self-confidence, and are convinced they are able to inject safely and in the manner that their doctors have prescribed, they can feel assured that they are getting the best care possible.”