The way by which medical treatments are being delivered is rapidly changing. In many cases, you no longer have to go to the doctor’s office, hospital, or other medical facilities to receive doses of medications to be administered for various illnesses and diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, or infectious diseases. Today, treating these medical issues might be as easy as ordering a wearable device online or going to the pharmacy.
Wearable Drug Delivery Devices
A wearable drug delivery device is a piece of medical equipment that eliminates the need for excessive trips to medical facilities and reduces the overall cost of your health care. The reasons wearable drug delivery devices are exploding in popularity vary; however, the reasons mostly fall into the category of convenience and ease of use in one way or another.
These devices eliminate the need for needles in many cases, or they no longer require that you inject yourself with a syringe as it is done for you by the device. It also allows you to administer large-dose medications that are to be given over a long period of time in the comfort of your home without medical supervision. Keep in mind that a medical professional should train you on the best ways to use such devices to be treated properly and effectively. And you will be monitored remotely with other wearable monitoring systems in most cases.
In addition to the convenience of at-home drug administration and lower medical costs, you will also stay out of dangerous hospitals, which will help to improve your condition more quickly. You will find wearable drug delivery devices for a wide range of medical treatments, including asthma management, pain relief, insulin monitoring, and respiratory therapy. These devices are exploding in popularity, and the trend is that this industry will continue to grow and transform the drug delivery system once and for all.
There are many categories that wearable devices fall into. These include:
Wearable diagnostic and monitoring devices
- Wearable cardiovascular devices
- Wearable pregnancy, fetal, and infant devices
- Wearable neurological devices
- Wearable sleep monitoring devices
- Wearable glucose monitoring devices
- Other wearable diagnostic and monitoring devices
Wearable therapeutic devices
- Wearable respiratory therapy devices
- Wearable insulin management devices
- Wearable pain management devices
- Wearable drug delivery devices
Top 10 Wearable Drug-Device Trends
For these wearable medical devices to be successful, medical professionals must be able to monitor your progress remotely from medical facilities. This can be easily accomplished with the use of wearable activity monitors. An activity monitor could range from medically-designed devices to mass market wearable activity monitors, such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch. The type of wearable activity monitor device you require will depend entirely on your medical situation. You might require an ECG monitor to watch your heart activity, from detecting atrial fibrillation to tracking your exercise. You might require a blood pressure monitor. Or you might even require a biosensor that prevents respiratory or cardiac arrest. They can also lead to less frequent dosing.
Smart patches, also referred to as smart cutaneous wearable devices and electronic skins, distribute medication through your skin from a patch. This concept has been around for decades. Think of nicotine patches or the birth control patch. These two medical delivery systems through patches have proven to be highly effective. They are also easy to administer and safe to use. Of all of the drug delivery devices that you wear, this might be one of the originals. Today, dozens of other types of medications are now available through a smart medical patch. They are disposable and lightweight as not to disrupt your life too much. They can also be used by medical professionals to monitor your medical situation, including fevers, fitness, cancer cells, and much more. And patches are considered a painless drug delivery device.
Smartwatches lead the way in all wearable connected health devices in all industries. However, their medical uses are only in the infancy stage. As of right now, their primary use in the medical field is to monitor various health conditions. Some smartwatches act like 24-7 EKGs to monitor your heart at all times, and others simply track your fitness activity. As of right now, it does not appear any smartwatches exist that administer drugs. However, this could change any day. For now, they act as a wonderful way to prevent a health crisis and to allow patients to take accountability for their daily actions and even to remind them when to take medicine or change a medical patch.
Much like smartwatches, smart clothing is currently providing more monitoring than acting as a wearable drug delivery device. However, this is changing. Scientists and researchers all over the world are working with smart fabrics to be able to act as a drug delivery device that you wear. This helps to conceal the device so that it is more comfortable for the patient. The fibers in the wearable materials are designed to control when drugs are released and the amount of the medication. At the moment, when the medication is released, the person wearing the material feels slight pressure. However, the materials are lightweight and prevent patients from having to go to a medical facility for drugs to be administered.
Subcutaneous Drug Delivery Devices
Wearable subcutaneous drug delivery devices are eliminating the need for IV drug delivery across all fields of medicine. The device is inserted under your skin, and medication is released on its own. This includes more convenient options for cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases. One of the biggest advantages of this type of drug delivery system is that it requires the patient to complete the entire recommended treatment. When people do not complete their treatment in full, it can lead to drug resistance in some cases. Some of the most common types of subcutaneous drug options include diacetylmorphine, goserelin, insulin, and morphine.
An on-body Injector is considered a wearable injection device. This type of device is becoming quite popular with cancer patients in the wearable injectors market. Once the device is applied to the stomach or arm, it waits for a period of time before it slowly releases the medication. This type of injector allows for patients to be treated at home without exposure to other illnesses and diseases during a time when your immune system is already compromised. This convenience is making the wearable injectors market one of the most in-demand.
A handheld injector is not necessarily wearable in that it is connected to your body at the time of injection, but rather you can keep it on your person until it is time to inject yourself. It typically comes in the form of a stick-like tube. A good example is an Epipen for people who have life-threatening allergies. You simply grab it from your pocket or bag and inject yourself with the push of a button. It eliminates the need for administering a syringe.
A needle-free injector comes in a variety of distribution possibilities. The use of this type of medical delivery device could be administered through shock waves, gas pressure, or electrophoresis. These medical administering methodologies help to prevent the need for needles to administer drugs. This process also improves safety for the patient, eliminates medical waste, and increases the sterility of administering medications. Some people consider this a painless drug delivery device.
A wearable injector is attached to the skin, and the drug is administered subcutaneously. These types of drug delivery devices you wear provide the ultimate convenience; however, you must be careful not to bump these devices or sleep on them. If a wearable injection device is moved out of place, you will likely have to go to the doctor to have it reinserted.
Most people do not enjoy a trip to any medical facility. As such, health care at home is a booming market. You can expect to see more ways to administer medications yourself in the comfort of your home in the coming years. Between telehealth, drug delivery devices you wear, and wearable monitoring, you may eliminate the need for medical visits entirely until there is an emergency. And at-home self-care can lead to less frequent dosing.
Wearable Drug Delivery and Diagnostics Industry Stats and Growth Projections in 2021
- The home health care market is expected to surpass $240 billion by 2024.
- The wearable medical device industry is expected to reach $27 billion by 2023.
- With the explosion of wearable devices, the industry is valued at over $10 billion.
- The three biggest distribution channels for purchasing drug delivery devices you wear are hypermarkets, online, and pharmacies.
- Online distribution channels are expected to grow by 23.7 percent in the next 5 years, which may allow this type of distribution to overtake the existing market leader of pharmacies.
- At the moment, the biggest players are Fitbit, Omron Corp, and Philips. As of 2016, they shared nearly 30 percent of the market.
- Other competitors include AiQ Smart Clothing, Apple, BD, Hologic Inc., NeuroMetrix, Inc., Samsung, Siemens, Sonova, and Ypsomed AG.
- The market for large volume wearable injectors alone is expected to be roughly $8 billion by 2025.
- Fifty percent of the large volume wearable injector industry is driven by cancer treatments.
- The injectable drug delivery market is expected to experience roughly an 11.5 percent compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2023.