Four Recent Advances In Parenteral Drug Delivery Systems

Parenteral drug delivery systems introduce therapeutic substances by injection, infusion, and implantation into the body and controls. The action is systemic when introduced to the soft tissue or the vascular and muscular systems and local when injected into joints or organs. 

The discovery of new drugs required new ways to deliver drugs to target the intended organ, increase therapeutic benefits, provide sustained release, and improve safety to avoid organ damage.

This article discusses four advances in parenteral drug delivery systems.

  1. Emergency Delivery Through Intraosseous Access (IO)

The conventional approach to parenteral drug delivery is through intravenous lines using a standard needle or cannula inserted through the venous system. Critical patients who may not be in the medical setting, trauma patients, combat situations, or hospitalized patients where inserted lines no longer work can use intraosseous drug delivery for short durations. 

Many medical experts consider intraosseous infusions when immediate access to blood vessels in the hospital or pre-medical setting is required for its rapid effects. Any fluid or substance delivered by IV can be administered using IO. Practitioners can operate this device manually and administer it to children and adults safely. 

In this method, the needle penetrates the cortical tissue of the bone and injects fluids, drugs, and blood components directly into the medullary cavity. From here, it reaches the central circulation rapidly. IO is one option when a patent vein is difficult or when an out-of-hospital patient needs short-term access to medication. This emergency access is fast and easy to perform on

  • cardiac patients whose pulse may be thready or not easily palpable, 
  • trauma patients who may have lost a lot of blood,
  • adults and children with poor peripheral perfusion, and 
  • patients who have low blood pressure from any cause.

However, there are a few contraindications. These include long fractures, a previous bone surgery near the site, injury to the vena cava, skin injury at the injection site, and osteoporosis. Complications are uncommon.

Other factors like convenience, patient compliance, faster onset of effects, effectivity, and the need for preventive and therapeutic vaccines provided the need to launch more ways to deliver parenteral drugs. You’ll learn more about them later.

  • Novel Drug Delivery Systems (NDDS)

Biologic drugs increasingly use NDDS for passive or active cancer targeting, sustained release, and vaccine adjuvant. Because of how they’re engineered, certain drugs can be so specific to target only sick cells, leaving the healthy ones unharmed.

Aside from specificity, NDDS has other advantages: 

  • More consistent serum levels
  • Improve bioavailability
  • Reach stable therapeutic levels quicker
  • Less frequent dosing
  • Fewer side effects
  • Improve patient compliance for some devices

Biologic drugs use liposomes, nanoparticles, nanospheres, and other carriers to deliver parts of a cell or a drug into target organs or tumors. Implants and infusion devices are two types of NDDS for chronic diseases, addiction therapy, and oncology.

Solid implants are surgically sewn in the subcutaneous layer. It can be oval or cylindrical and contains the drug, usually without excipients. These implants are easy to set in place and ideal for steroids and naltrexone because of their slow absorption.

Other infusion devices apart from IO are implantable devices that a healthcare professional or patient can refill. The drugs are periodically released through three mechanisms: battery power, osmotic pressure, or vapor pressure.

  • Self-Injection Devices 

The prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis drives self-injection with pre-filled syringes and pens. The market for self-injection devices has increased because they’re easy to use and effective. These features are especially beneficial for patients who have certain types of cancers, autoimmune diseases, hormonal dysfunction, or in chronic pain.

Self-injection devices can be disposable or reusable. Some are wearable, have an auto-inject function, and are even needle-free. Using these devices properly has reduced hospital visits, improved compliance, and reduced costs.

With the predetermined dose, it’s a safe alternative and less likely to be abused. Manufacturers put a premium on accurate dosage, safety, ease of use, and making the experience as pain-free as possible.

In addition, pre-filled syringes also prevent different injuries in the hospital setting. Anytime a drug is drawn by syringe, injected, and disposed of, accidents can happen.

  • Wearables

Wearing your medication so your doctor gets a heads-up on your health status used to be science fiction. Now it’s a reality and has been for years. Wearable injectors, developed to increase patient comfort while being given long-acting drugs that are viscous, are beneficial to cancer patients.  


The recent advances in parenteral drug delivery systems have saved countless lives. The ease and speed of administering fluids, medicine, and blood components using intraosseous infusion have saved critically ill patients and trauma victims. NDDS, self-injection devices, and wearables have made the delivery of drugs efficient, improved bioavailability, improved compliance, and increased patient comfort.

Note:- Article is for general information purpose only. Before following any guide or link mentioned please consult your medical expert first.

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