Hypodermic needles cause pain and bleeding, produce biohazardous sharp waste and require trained personnel. To address these issues, we introduce separable arrowhead microneedles that rapidly and painlessly deliver drugs and vaccines to the skin. These needles are featured by micron-size sharp tips mounted on blunt shafts. Upon insertion in the skin, the sharp-tipped polymer arrowheads encapsulating drug separate from their metal shafts and remain embedded in the skin for subsequent dissolution and drug release. The blunt metal shafts can then be discarded. Due to rapid separation of the arrowhead tips from the shafts within seconds, administration using arrowhead microneedles can be carried out rapidly, while drug release kinetics can be independently controlled based on separable arrowhead formulation. Thus, drug and vaccine delivery using arrowhead microneedles are designed to offer a quick, convenient, safe and potentially self-administered method of drug delivery as an alternative to hypodermic needles.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.