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By Patricia Anderson

With all the press coverage on EpiPen prices, hopes are high for the development of new devices to compete with Mylan’s autoinjector. Other epinephrine injection devices have been on the market, and some are working to get to market but EpiPen currently rules the market.

Epinephrine injectors have to fulfill a collection of rather unique usability criteria (be very portable, easy for a stranger off the street to use, quick to activate, easy enough for kids and adults, etc.) to be feasible options – a daunting task for medical device designers.  In a dream world, what kind of devices could compete with EpiPen?

Designawards.core77.com features an innovative and impressive student design for an Epinephrine injection device. This device, called ISA10 and designed by students at the Umeå institute of design in Sweden, features creative solutions to allow friends, strangers, and people experiencing an allergic attack to administer a dose of epinephrine and get medical help.

Some use conditions, potential solutions to address the use cases, and design considerations are discussed below.

  • Problem: in a panic, how does the patient, or their caregiver, find the device?
    • Solution: shaking a bag with the device inside causes the device to turn on an alarm.
    • Thoughts: would the alarm be effective in helping people locate the device? Could it cause even more panic? Would it draw attention to user, reducing conspicuity that some people may not like?
  • Problem: the injection takes 10 seconds, and failure to hold the needle in the injection site for the full 10 seconds could result in an under-dose.
    • Solution: lights and sound guide the user through the 10 second injection and indicate completion.
    • Thoughts: would this feature be effective in mitigating against under-doses? Could the lights and sound startle someone, causing them to jerk the device out of the injection site?
  • Problem: the patient should seek emergency medical help, which is often not achieved.
    • Solution: the device connects to an app, which automatically calls 911.
    • Thoughts: would this feature be seen favorably, or negatively? Could a negative view of this feature increase non-compliance (cause people to forgo using the device out of fear of calling 911)?
  • Problem: injection devices are often very expensive, even if the drug product inside them is not expensive.
    • Solution: the main body of the device is reusable. Medication comes in “refill” cartridges.
    • Thoughts: can users assemble the device appropriately? Would they store the device with or without the cartridge in it, and what is the result of that behavior?

To read more about this design, visit: http://designawards.core77.com/Interaction/48112/ISA10-Epinephrine-auto-injector.