Adding Sleeve to Auto-Injection Device Improves Ease of Use for RA Patients

By Reuters Staff

June 12, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adding a sleeve to an auto-injection device could help rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients self-administer medication more comfortably, new findings show.

"The robust grip improved patient confidence and reduced injection-related anxiety. This may be beneficial in patients who are anxious about self-administration, those new to self-administration, and potentially in patients with reduced hand dexterity as a result of either advanced disease or a painful day," Dr. Naceur Rekaya of Pfizer, in Walton Oaks, UK, and colleagues conclude in Rheumatology and Therapy.

Pfizer's anti-tumor necrosis factor drug etanercept is safe and effective for managing RA, Dr. Rekaya and colleagues write in their report. While self-injection is the preferred administration method for etanercept, giving patients more flexibility and reducing healthcare costs, they add, emotional and functional challenges can make self-administration difficult for some RA patients.

The authors modified MyClic, an auto-injector device made by Pfizer, with a washable, reusable sleeve from Genia Medical, Inc. The sleeve, which slips over the top of the pen, is intended to give patients a more stable grip.

The team demonstrated the modified device to 168 RA patients from Belgium, Germany, Japan, Spain and the UK, and 82 doctors and nurses. All of the patients already used the MyClic to administer etanercept.

Patients and clinicians gave the modified device high scores for ease of administration and other attributes they considered to be important.

On a scale of from 1 to 7, with 1 being extremely unlikely and 7 being extremely likely, patients had a high likelihood of saying they would recommend the modified device to other patients, and would request it for themselves (mean score 6.3 and 5.8, respectively).

"Improved autonomy was seen as a major benefit, not only for patients with hand disabilities at the time of the study but also for patients worried about the potential progression of their disease in the future," Dr. Rekaya and colleagues note.

"Future investigations should explore the psychological and emotional impact of auto-injectors as well as the ability of patients to physically use them," they conclude.

SOURCE: Rheumatology and Therapy, online June 4, 2020.