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Papers of the Week

2020 May

J Int Med Res



Autoinjector device for rapid administration of drugs and antidotes in emergency situations and in mass casualty management.


There are several situations such as medical emergencies and incidents involving mass casualties where drugs and antidotes have to be administered immediately along with other first aid at the site of the event. Self-administration by the affected person or by a companion is required as a life-saving measure. Autoinjector devices (AIDs) are useful for the rapid administration of drugs and antidotes and they can also be used by those who have not been medically trained. This makes them very convenient for emergency and mass casualty management. An AID has a drug cartridge with an embedded needle for subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, which is usually painless. The drugs are delivered slowly by the AID across a large area in the muscle, which increases the absorption and the drug effects are equal to that of intravenous administration. A variety of AIDs are available, such as atropine and pralidoxime for nerve agent poisoning, epinephrine for anaphylactic shock and allergy, diazepam for seizures, sumatriptan for migraine, amikacin for antibacterial treatment, buprenorphine for pain relief and monoclonal antibodies for a variety of diseases. This review describes the published peer-reviewed literature identified by online searches of journal databases.