The one-shot drug that keeps on dosing

Close up of needle with microparticles

Enlarge (credit: Brandon Martin/Rice University)

On average, patients with chronic illnesses follow their prescribed treatments about 50 percent of the time. That’s a problem. If drugs aren’t taken regularly, on time, and in the right doses, the treatment may not work, and the person’s condition can worsen.

The issue isn’t that people are unwilling to take their prescriptions. It’s that some drugs, like HIV medications, require unwavering commitment. And essential medicines, like insulin, can be brutally expensive. Plus, the Covid pandemic illustrated the difficulties of delivering perishable follow-up vaccine shots to regions with no cold chain. “Are we really squeezing all the utility out of those drugs and vaccines?” asks Kevin McHugh, a bioengineer at Rice University. “The answer is, in general, no. And sometimes we’re missing out on a lot.”

For example, the injectable drug bevacizumab can be used to treat macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. But even though it’s effective, dosing adherence is notoriously low. “People hate getting injections into their eyes,” McHugh says. “And I don’t blame them at all—that’s terrible.”

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments


related articles

Porttitor sed maecenas consectetur. Nunc, sem imperdiet ultrices sed eleifend adipiscing facilisis arcu pharetra. Cras nibh egestas neque