Technology similar to that used in Hewlett-Packard inkjet printers used to deliver medications to patients

Researchers at Hewlett-Packard have developed a patch that uses thermal ink jet technology from printers to administer drugs to patients. Dermal patches as drug administration devices are certainly nothing new, but the method HP has developed is new.

The patch uses micro needles to inject drugs below the skin of a patient and has the ability to be programmed to control the exact amount of medication delivered to a patient. The patch can also be programmed to deliver doses on a specific time schedule.

Current dermal medication delivery devices rely on placing drugs into a substrate that can be absorbed through the skin. This method doesn’t work for all types of medications, and there is no method of precise control for current dermal medication delivery patches.

The medical patch uses a material that expands when heated, thereby delivering the medication through the micro needles. Lim Eng Hann, associate director of intellectual property licensing at HP told PC World, “the microneedles do penetrate the skin, but they are designed so that they don’t penetrate deep enough to impact the nerves.”

When equipped with basic electronics and a power source the patch measures about 2.5-square centimeters and is 3-millimeters thick and is covered with approximately 400 to 1000 microneedles.

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