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A novel needle for subcutaneous injection of interferon beta-1a: effect on pain in volunteers and satisfaction in patients with multiple sclerosis

Amer Jaber14*, Gian B Bozzato1, Lionel Vedrine2, Wes A Prais2, Julie Berube2 and Philippe E Laurent3

Author affiliations

1 Merck Serono International S.A., Geneva, Switzerland

2 BD Medical – Pharmaceutical Systems, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA

3 BD Medical – Pharmaceutical Systems, Le Pont de Claix, France

4 UCB Pharma SA, Chemin du Foriest, 1420 Braine l'Alleud, Belgium

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Citation and License

BMC Neurology 2008, 8:38  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-38

Published: 10 October 2008



To reduce injection pain and improve satisfaction, a thinner (29-gauge [29G]), sharper (5-bevel) needle than the 27G/3-bevel needle used previously to inject interferon (IFN) beta-1a, 44 or 22 mcg subcutaneously (sc) three times weekly (tiw), was developed for use in multiple sclerosis (MS).


Two clinical trials in healthy volunteers and five surveys of patients with MS were conducted to assess whether the 29G/5-bevel needle with a Thermo Plastic Elastomer (TPE) needle shield (a sleeve that houses the tip of the needle in a secure location) is an improvement over the 27G/3-bevel needle with a rubber shield for injection of IFN beta-1a, 44 or 22 mcg sc tiw. Parameters assessed were: pain and ease of insertion (healthy volunteer and nurse responses on subjective pain measurement scales); and patient satisfaction (surveys of patients with MS).


In healthy volunteers, the 29G/5-bevel needle with TPE shield was associated with the least perceived pain on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Verbal VAS (VB-VAS); mean VAS pain scores decreased by 40% and skin penetration improved by 69% compared with the 27G/3-bevel needle with standard rubber shield (p < 0.01). Pooled results from surveys of patients with MS indicated that 63% of patients thought that injections were less painful with the 29G/5-bevel needle than the 27G/3-bevel needle. Results from individual surveys indicated that the 29G/5-bevel needle was an improvement over the 27G/3-bevel needle for ease of insertion, injection-site reactions, bruising, burning and stinging.


Together these studies indicate that the 29G/5-bevel needle with the TPE shield is an improvement over the 27G/3-bevel needle with standard rubber shield in terms of pain, ease of insertion and patient satisfaction. These improvements are expected to result in improved compliance in patients with MS treated with IFN beta-1a, 44 or 22 mcg sc tiw.