Recently, Air-Tite Products received a call from a laboratory researcher at the University of Florida who was seeking a solution for an issue they faced. As ethical researchers, the scientists inject Buprenorphine ER-LAB produced by ZooPharm, an opioid commonly used to treat pain in mice. Buprenorphine is a thick (viscous) substance which cannot go through narrow needles. The researchers had to address the challenges of this viscosity issue while also providing small doses to the mice.
The scientist was seeking a solution that they weren’t certain existed. They were seeking a small syringe, between 0.5mL to 1.0mL, to provide accuracy in dosing. They also needed something with very low dead space (LDS) to salvage every available drop of the drug. This was important because each drop of the drug has value, and they wanted to provide the most accurate dose possible. Their last request was for a needle size that would allow easy injection of the viscous material.
Syringes providing a fine dose with very low dead space are relatively easy to find. Fixed needle syringes offer the lowest dead space option of any syringe with needle. The needles directly attach to the syringe barrel (as opposed to luer fittings) and have an average dead space of 3µL (microliters). However, these syringes are typically insulin syringes, and the standard needle gauge is anywhere from 28g to 31g (which was not ideal for this application).
Needle gauge refers to the outer diameter of the needle - the higher the gauge number, the smaller the needle, and the less painful the injection. The outer diameter of the needle also correlates to the inner diameter and so the viscosity of the material going through the needle is limited by the inner diameter. High viscosity material, such as honey, cannot pass through the small needles. Low viscosity materials are much thinner, like water, and can pass through very small diameter areas.
The academic scientist who contacted Air-Tite Products needed a large inner diameter to allow the Buprenorphine to pass through the needle. So, what was the solution?
One of Air-Tite Products value-added roles in the market includes project management of custom solutions. From a previous customized solution, Air-Tite had partnered with one of our manufacturers to create a 1mL fixed needle syringe with a 21g x 1” needle. It was a home run solution for injecting small doses of buprenorphine into rats, allowing dose accuracy, limiting waste of the drug, and having a large enough needle to allow the buprenorphine to be easily injected. Samples were sent to the lab at no cost, they evaluated the samples and found this to be an ideal solution.
We often find ourselves using a less-than-ideal solution because it is simply what is available, and what everyone uses. Air-Tite is grateful that this researcher took the time to ask, “How can I do this better?” Her investigation led to a solution for her lab, and potentially for labs across the country.
Air-Tite Products started in 1926, and has a focused effort on the smaller, overlooked market opportunities. As a result, Air-Tite frequently helps fulfill requests for items that aren’t commonly available. We’ve partnered with manufacturers to bring new, different size needles, specialty syringes, combination products, and unique solutions for all sorts of hypodermic needs. How can Air-Tite help you?