There are a huge number of people who overdose on prescription opiates in the United States every year, and it is a problem that is only getting worse. The good news is that there is an affordable and life saving drug available. Unfortunately Naloxone, the drug in question, can only be administered through a rather complex process that must be performed before administration. And assembling a kit full of pieces and parts isn’t the simplest thing in the world when you are dealing with an overdose. But this growing epidemic has inspired innovation in the form of San Francisco based design firm Frog. Frog began investing in 3D printing as a way to re-design the injection system for Naloxone. Creating a one step method for delivery that is simple enough to be used while in a panic.
The current model comes in a kit that has several distinct pieces that are both fragile and small. (Pictured above)The medicine must be kept separate until it is ready to be administered and preparation can take several precious minutes during a crisis. Frog used 3D printing to prototype multiple different variations for different applications including versions for nurses and for non-medically trained users. The largest breakthrough was connecting two syringes on the end, allowing the drug to be sprayed into both nostrils simultaneously. Think of it as the EpiPen, but for overdoses.
The new designs also feature two separate materials, a rigid rubber for the actuator, and plastic for the body. This would allow someone who was in a panicked or impaired state to be able to feel the different parts of the mechanism in their hand, without having to examine it. The result is an effective (if a bit uncomfortable) means of reactory medicine. Frog is currently looking for partners in the pharmaceutical or health care industries and is hoping to bring the dual-nasal naloxone atomizer to the market, and hopefully by then, they will have thought of a better name.