CBC News has been investigating a number of devices that can be used to inject needles, syringes and other medications into a patient, but so far, there is no clear evidence of how effective they are at delivering medication.
We asked the drug industry’s experts to weigh in on the best injection machines available.
“The best thing for a hospital is to use a dry-drip or a spray-injector, that is a machine that can deliver a specific drug, in the form of an injection, but the drug has to be delivered through a patient,” said Dr. Andrew Wiebe, an assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Alberta and president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
“That is the main way you will achieve a high patient return on investment.”
“So for example, a dry drip, a spray, and a pump will deliver 100 to 100 per cent of a medication,” he added.
Wiebe is one of several experts to make the case that dry-drinking machines could help hospitals achieve better patient outcomes, but it’s not just about delivering medication into the right place.
Wiesbe said that the injectable medicine needs to be injected into the correct place for the correct dose, and if that doesn’t happen, the medication could spread to the other side of the room.
“It could be something as simple as a needle or an IV in the wrong place, and the medication will spread and go to the wrong side of your room,” he said.
“And that can lead to complications.”
Injection machines are often used to deliver medication to patients, but they have a number potential downsides, including the possibility of contaminating other medications in the hospital.
“For example, there’s a small risk of getting a drug into a vein or into an artery that is not intended to carry it,” Wiesbe explained.
“So if there’s an IV line, you could have an artery bypassed and the drug could spread.”
Injectors are also a little more complicated than dry-mixing machines, and are sometimes used in conjunction with other equipment.
“We have these machines where you inject the drug into the machine, and then you turn the machine on and off and inject the drugs into the patient, which takes quite a bit of time,” said Wiesbikes assistant professor, Dr. Christopher Gresham.
“The other thing that’s a little bit different about dry mixing machines is the fact that the injection can’t happen when the machine is off.
So there are all these other things that go into the mix.”
The same thing can be said for the sterile syringe, but that is often done on a device called an injection pump, where the needles are mixed with saline solution and injected into a syringe or other syringe.
“There’s a number more different types of machines, but all of them are basically sterile syringas, sterile syrings that have a syringer inside of them,” said Gresbikes.
“And you’re going to inject the needle through the syringe into the sterile machine, or in the sterile chamber, or you’re just injecting the needle into a saline solution.
So you’re basically injecting the syringa, then you’re turning the syre on and you’re injecting the saline solution.”
Wiesbike also pointed out that injecting drugs into dry-mixed needles is not always a viable option, because of contamination.
“You’ve got a saline fluid that’s being mixed in, you’ve got saline, you’re using the saline, and you get this little bit of drug stuck to the needle and you don’t know if that’s going to make it into the saline,” he explained.
“So if you can’t safely get that drug out of the syrene and into the syrex, then that could cause serious problems.
So that’s why it’s important to use dry-Mix machines.”
To learn more about the health risks of injecting medications, read CBC’s report on the controversial practice of dry-pumping medications.
Wielkes said dry-injection machines may be ideal for some patients, as long as the machines are cleaned regularly and monitored for safety.
“If you have a situation where a patient’s breathing is not stable or is not responding well to the drugs, dry-Injection Machines can help alleviate that,” he stressed.
“But if there is a situation that it’s really clear that the drug is not working properly, you might want to consider a different method.”
Dr. Andrew J. Wiebel, associate professor of pharmacology and health sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the only safe way to inject medication into a healthy patient is by a physician.
“Dry-Mixing machines can deliver medication safely and efficiently, but there are risks that they may contaminate other drugs and potentially harm the patient,” he told CBC News.