Updated: Apr 11
Exploring Patient Safety, Compliance & 3D Screen Printing with Laxxon COO Klaus Kühne
In the healthcare industry, a patient's adherence to their medication dosage and cadence, as well as their relationship and honesty with their healthcare professional prescribing, is known as patient compliance.
Patient compliance is a critical component in a patient's health and in the success of their prescribed medication. When a patient does not adhere to their medication, it is called patient noncompliance, which can be deadly.
How Big Is the Patient Noncompliance Problem?
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) cites research from the World Health Organization (WHO) showing that "approximately 125,000 people with treatable ailments die each year in the United States because they do not take their medication properly." Revealing the extent to which patient compliance is a significant challenge, the same report indicates that "10% to 25% of hospital and nursing home admissions result from patient noncompliance[,] about 50% of prescriptions filled for chronic diseases in developed countries are not taken correctly, and as many as 40% of patients do not adhere to their treatment regimens."
According to the American Medical Association, many variables influence patient noncompliance – from fear of side effects to financial barriers and depression.
Additionally, patients who show patient noncompliance report having issues with taking their medication regularly or confusion due to complex dosing schedules and the number of medications. These latter issues, however, are being addressed with Laxxon Medical's 3D screen printing technology.
Laxxon's Approach to the Issue
Laxxon Medical's patented 3D screen printing technology (SPID® Technology) allows for the heterogeneous distribution of API in any given tablet or dosage form.
"Heterogeneous distribution means that within our tablets, we are able to control not only the amount and type of API or substance which is released but also the time at which this substance is distributed in the body. One particularly interesting element of heterogeneous distribution is the sequential release of actives. For example, if a tablet contains more than one API, we can control different release times per API based on the highly complex printed structures of our tablets. This is only possible through 3D screen printing." -Klaus Kühne, Laxxon Medical COO
Heterogenous distribution and sequential release offer beneficial clinical impacts for patients, allowing for fewer dosages, longer-lasting results, and fewer side effects. For example, through the controlled resolvability of a substance with a sequential release, one can overcome the "First Pass" effect by protecting the actual API until it arrives at the target in the body.
In addition to SPID®-Technology's heterogeneous distribution, the 3D screen printing technology also addresses patient compliance with QR codes. Laxxon's technology can print QR codes directly onto the tablet, allowing for easy access to product information and combating counterfeit medicine.
"Automatic dispensing in nursing homes and hospitals, particularly in the US, are still having to control that patients get the right treatment at the right time at the right place. Here QR codes can be extremely supportive because all necessary information regarding dosing, side effects, etc., can be accessed directly from the tablet regardless of secondary packaging material," Kühne said.
While patient compliance is a serious issue and cause of harm to patients, it is also important to address medical errors in hospitals and nursing homes. "Product safety is an important topic globally when speaking about the treatment of patients and patient compliance. For example, in the US, about 7,000 to 9,000 people die yearly because of wrong medication and medical errors," Kühne said.
One study published in the National Library of Medicine studied 237 randomly selected nurses from Imam Khomeini Hospital in Iran and found that 64.55% of these nurses administered medical errors, most commonly wrong dosages and infusion rates.
"If you think about the daily work of nurses in hospitals or nursing homes, where they are managing multiple tasks and patients, and also dispensing different medications to the different patients, there is clearly room for human error," Kühne said.
Applying QR Code printing technology
To overcome the issue of human error, more hospitals and nursing homes are implementing automatic dispensing. However, the identification of individual tablets is needed with automatic dispensing.
This is where QR codes could be a solution: QR codes printed on each individual tablet would allow access to all kinds of relevant product information, including medication recalls, dosing, and more. QR codes can easily be identified through a simple scan with a phone or QR code reader.
"One interesting aspect also reflected in our QR code development is centralized programs for patient monitoring by physicians. That means patients can stay at home, and doctors in the hospital or practice can monitor the patients' dosage and timing and send approval or denial. This is already established for data reflecting blood pressure and temperature, but up until now, there has not been a possibility to monitor medications," Kühne said.
Klaus Kühne founded Laxxon Medical in 2017 alongside business partners Helmut Kerschbaumer and Dr. Achim Schneeberger in an effort to explore the pharmaceutical application of 3D screen printing. Laxxon recently announced its partnership with Hovione, a global pharmaceutical CMDO, with plans to begin producing clinical samples in Hovione's facilities with Laxxon's cGMP printer.
Laxxon Medical is dedicated to engineering patented 3D pharmaceutical solutions which optimize products and benefit patients. Our goal is to establish SPID®-Technology as a manufacturing process with the individual and the pharmaceutical partner in mind.