Innovative product development firm Cambridge Consultants has developed a new auto-injector to deliver viscous progesterone in oil (PiO) hormonal injections in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, without causing pain.

The PiO hormone, which comes in pills or suppositories, are available in the form of self-administered injections for women who need higher doses of the hormone for sustaining pregnancy.

The piOna auto-injector warms the oil to make it less viscous and then uses a syringe fitted with a 22-gauge (1.5-inch) needle to inject the progesterone deep into the muscle.

The auto-injector also guides the patient though the injection process – with audible, visual and tactile signals at each stage and the needle hidden from view – reducing the injection duration by up to 30%, according to the company.

In addition to the ease of use, the device helps in reducing the amount of swelling and additional side effects around the injected area.

Boston University School of Medicine obstetrics and gynecology associate professor Dr Wendy Kuohung said patients self-administer up to 70 injections during fertility treatment.

"Already burdened by the stress of infertility, our patients universally find the current manual injection method difficult, painful and anxiety-provoking," Kuohung said.

"After seeing this auto-injector prototype, I have to say that I’m impressed as I believe any innovation in this area will be a great benefit to my patients."

Cambridge Consultants senior industrial designer Lai Chiu Tang said with the launch of the new device, women can now administer a drug dosage without fear of unnecessary pain and stress.

"Improving the user experience will help women all over the world to gain access to health opportunities which were previously perceived to be unobtainable," Tang said.

Image: The piOna auto-injector automates the temperature and injection speed of the viscous progesterone in oil (PiO) hormone and enables patients to administer the self injections with ease of use. Photo: Courtesy of Cambridge Consultants.