Opinion: RA Patients Get a Grip on Self-Injection

Opinion: RA Patients Get a Grip on Self-Injection

If you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may have found self-injecting your medication to be a particularly frustrating and painful experience. And it’s easy to see why you might feel that way: As with many of your fellow RA patients, you may suffer from reduced manual dexterity. As a result, it can be challenging for you to follow some of the steps that are required when using an autoinjector — such as pressing the activation button that actually delivers the drug. In addition to this, the outer diameter of an autoinjector can be small, making a firm grip harder for you to maintain when it comes time to self-inject.

A recent breakthrough in design has aimed to alleviate this problem. The team at Noble, a Florida-based company dedicated to improving injection experiences for patients by designing training devices and solutions, realized that patients were likely to prefer using a larger, ergonomic grip to self-inject, as it’s easier for RA patients who typically have lower dexterity. This has led to the idea for a molded soft-touch sleeve that can provide a better grip and eliminate the need for you and other patients to press the autoinjector’s activation button.

Josh Hopkins

Soliciting feedback from prospective patients played a large role in guiding the conception and design of the soft-touch sleeve. In fact, inspiration for the sleeve was two-fold: first, from the understanding that RA patients find that if an injection device were easier to grip, the task of self-administering their medication could be made less challenging, and secondly, from previous third-party study findings. In addition to collecting feedback from patients, a significant amount of human factors testing was also performed, including studies that were essential in understanding how RA patients would use the sleeve when self-injecting to ensure the sleeve answered the challenges created by patients’ lower dexterity.

There was even more evidence that such a soft-touch sleeve would be beneficial. According to a multinational survey of 200 RA patients and 100 nurses, easy grip and ease of performing self-injections were the two most critical attributes identified by both groups. Injecting without having to push a button was clearly important for many patients with RA.

Use of the soft-touch sleeve was designed to be as simple as possible. You simply insert the sleeve onto the top of an autoinjector and twist the sleeve to attach it and lock it in place. When your injection is complete, you simply twist it in the opposite direction to remove it.

A key feature of the sleeve is its identity as an accessory rather than as an inseparable part of the autoinjector. The reason for this is clear: it allows you to save the sleeve and reuse it multiple times, even while you dispose of the autoinjector itself following the self-injection process.

To date, Noble has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from RA patients regarding the sleeve. These patients have commented that using the sleeve with their injection device is more comfortable and provides a better grip when self-injecting than was ever possible before.

Introduced into various markets in early 2019, the sleeve will continue to launch in additional global markets in the years to come. In the future, the sleeve may be available for the specific autoinjector that you use, making self-injection a relatively more comfortable experience.

Josh Hopkins, Program Manager, is responsible for design, engineering and development of regulated and non-regulated medical devices at Noble. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida.

Authored by: Josh Hopkins

Josh Hopkins, Program Manager, is responsible for design, engineering and development of regulated and non-regulated medical devices at Noble. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering and a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida.

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Rosalind Rivera

As a RA suffere, I was not aware that medication in the form of auotinjecting was even available to us. I am seeing an RA doctor but am relatively new to his practice and I am very fortunate that He is very knowledgeable of this desease and how it ravaged the body, mind and soul of its sufferers I plan on discussing this relatively new method in the treatment of RA with my doctor and since he is also a very compassionate man, I am sure that there will be no issue with his prescribing this method of pain relief to me! Thank you so very much for this valuable and life saving information.
Rosalind Rivera
Lucerne Valley, Ca.


It’s nice to hear that for once, patients were actually consulted.

I just read a new post on STAT by a woman who has bizarre reactions to some Rx’s which do the opposite of what the meds should do, and docs dont’ believe her.

I had that experience once. Years ago, I started taking magnesium as a supplement. It also helped with my constipation. I was having terrible cramping in my fingers overnight and my PCP had no idea what it was. Fortunately, I mentioned this cramping to my pain manager NP who told me it was the magnesium. I cut back on it, and the cramping went away. Any time I tried to increase my magnesium intake, the cramping came back.

My current PCP, who I generally think is excellent, wanted me to take more magnesium. I told her why I can’t. She was in disbelief, saying that what I was saying was the opposite of what magnesium does to people.

Just more examples of how in medicine, no 2 people are alike. So, clearly, any one size fits all approach is doomed to harm patients.

That’s interesting! I’m curious as to why a injectable Medication is needed & also what type of medication is used for the RA patients? Is it mostly NSAIDS ?

Mark Nawrot

There IS an easier way to do blood testing for diabetes, it’s called the Freestyle Libre System,, Medicare covers it, if you qualify. You wear a monitor on your arm, and simply scan it. Monitor has to be replaced every 2 weeks, might need help with that,,, but otherwise, wish I had this 5 years ago,,, but, it was not around then,,, havn’t you seen commercials for, it on tv?,,,, google it!

Gail Honadle

Wish they’d develop a easier way to do Blood Sugar testing, with Osteoarthritis in both hands and damage from Thumb surgery in my Dominate Right hand that effects the fine motor skills I have a hard time using the instrument to draw that drop of blood, find it simpler to just poke my finger. Ergonomic and Hypoallerginic products are a Must for those of use who have either Limited Mobility or Autoimmunes. With 100 known Autoimmunes, 12+ million are FMS most of us react to chemicals and food dyes, and not 1 Hypoallerginic DENTURE with out Red Food Dye? Even eating and cooking utensils need to be Ergonomic.