NSU Researcher Invents Alternative to EpiPen®

NSU Researcher Mutasem Rawas-Qualji, inventor of the epi-pill as an alternative to the expensive EpiPenThe debate over the expense associated with the EpiPen® may be coming to a halt, thanks to pharmaceutical researcher and Associate Professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, B. Pharm. (Hon.), Ph.D.

Popular Science featured Rawas-Qalaji’s new oral method for patients to receive epinephrine. Generally, the benefits of the drug aren’t seen when ingested, which is why most patients carry around the pen; however, Rawas-Qalaji developed a tablet that will allow the drug to work quickly and effectively.

The sublingual epinephrine tablet represents potentially game-changing technology and the next steps were recently outlined on CNBC’s website.

Click HERE to read the CNBC article.

Click HERE to read the Popular Science article.

Click HERE to read the Digital Trends article.

Background:

Studies have shown that the United States has one of the highest incidences of fatal anaphylaxis in the world. For anaphylaxis treatment in community settings, epinephrine intramuscular injection using an auto-injector, e.g. EpiPen®, in the thigh is universally recommended. Despite this, many people at risk of anaphylaxis in community settings do not carry their prescribed auto-injectors consistently and hesitate to use them when anaphylaxis occurs.

Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, B. Pharm., Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutics at NSU’s College of Pharmacy, along with his research team, developed a novel sublingual tablet that disintegrates and releases the medicinal ingredient, epinephrine, under the patient’s tongue within less than 30 seconds. These rapidly disintegrating sublingual epinephrine tablets are taste-masked to enhance tablet’s palatability and patients’ acceptance. Recently, the NSU research team was able to significantly enhance the amount of drug that gets absorbed from the sublingual cavity into the blood, i.e. the relative bioavailability, through reducing the particles size of epinephrine using micro and nanotechnology.

“This new sublingual epinephrine tablets will offer a non-invasive, user-friendly, cost-effective, and more stable alternative dosage form compared to auto-injectors,” Qalaji said.

The research team is led by Mutasem Rawas-Qalaji, B. Pharm., Ph.D., at NSU and Keith J. Simons, Ph.D., F. Estelle Simons, MD, FAAAAI, and Ousama Rachid, Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.