The key is to attach the drugs to an array of small needles or microneedles that punch small holes in the skin. The stainless-steel microneedles are 620-microns long.

Tests showed drugs pass through the small holes for about 48 hr, then the body’s healing processes seal the punctures. According to researchers, microneedles offer several advantages in drug delivery. They keep the amount of drug in patients’ bloodstream at proper or therapeutic levels using lower doses. And because lower doses are used, the liver doesn’t have as much substance to metabolize into potentially harmful compounds.

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Georgia Institute of Technology, www.gatech.edu

flat plate

A thin, flat plate containing an array of microneedles, rests on top of a drug applicator.