A needle-free delivery system may lead to improved satisfaction and compliance, as well as reduced anxiety among patients requiring frequent or ongoing injections. This report describes a first-in-man assessment comparing Portal Instruments' innovative needle-free injection system with subcutaneous injections using a 27G needle. Forty healthy volunteer participants each received a total of four injections of 1.0 mL sterile saline solution, two with a standard subcutaneous injection using a 27G needle, and two using the Portal injection system. Perception of pain was measured using a 100-mm visual analog scale (VAS). Injection site reactions were assessed at 2 min and at 20-30 min after each injection. Follow-up contact was made 24-48 h after the injections. Subject preference regarding injection type was also assessed. VAS pain scores at Portal injection sites met the criteria to be considered non-inferior to the pain reported at 27G needle injection sites (i.e., upper 95% confidence bound less than +5 mm). Based on a mixed effects model, at time 0, accounting for potential confounding variables, the adjusted difference in VAS scores indicated that Portal injections were 6.5 mm lower than the 27G needle injections (95% CI -10.5, -2.5). No clinically important adverse events were noted. Portal injections were preferred by 24 (60%) of the subjects (P = 0.0015). As an early step in the development of this new needle-free delivery system, the current study has shown that a 1.0-mL saline injection can be given with less pain reported than a standard subcutaneous injection using a 27G needle.
Keywords: injection pain; injection site reactions; needle-free jet injections; subcutaneous injections.