With a history of almost 175 years, hypodermic needles are the most widely used systems for drug administration and sample extraction. But the major drawbacks associated with the use of hypodermic needles include pain, invasiveness, psychological distress, bio-hazardous waste, and the requirement of skilled healthcare professionals. Recently, the `microneedle system' has been gaining interest as an efficient sample extraction (blood or interstitial fluid) and drug delivery system due to its various advantages over hypodermic needle based systems. As the name indicates, the microneedle system contains micron-sized needles---50--1500 $\mu$m in height---usually made of metal, glass, or polymer. The application of these needles creates micron-sized conduits in the skin, which is helpful to deliver a wide range of therapeutics both locally and systemically. This article describes the basics, history, and types of microneedles along with their drug delivery approaches. This article attempts to critically highlight the advantages of microneedle systems over hypodermic needle-based injections based on studies.
Volume 28 | Issue 9