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Int J Pharm Pract. 2014 Oct;22(5):335-44. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12081. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Children's views on microneedle use as an alternative to blood sampling for patient monitoring.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.



To explore children's views on microneedle use for this population, particularly as an alternative approach to blood sampling, in monitoring applications, and so, examine the acceptability of this approach to children.


Focus groups were conducted with children (aged 10-14 years) in a range of schools across Northern Ireland. Convenience sampling was employed, i.e. children involved in a university-directed community-outreach project (Pharmacists in Schools) were recruited.


A total of 86 children participated in 13 focus groups across seven schools in Northern Ireland. A widespread disapproval for blood sampling was evident, with pain, blood and traditional needle visualisation particularly unpopular aspects. In general, microneedles had greater visual acceptability and caused less fear. A patch-based design enabled minimal patient awareness of the monitoring procedure, with personalised designs, e.g. cartoon themes, favoured. Children's concerns included possible allergy and potential inaccuracies with this novel approach; however, many had confidence in the judgement of healthcare professionals if deeming this technique appropriate. They considered paediatric patient education critical for acceptance of this new approach and called for an alternative name, without any reference to 'needles'.


The findings presented here support the development of blood-free, minimally invasive techniques and provide an initial indication of microneedle acceptability in children, particularly for monitoring purposes. A proactive response to these unique insights should enable microneedle array design to better meet the needs of this end-user group. Further work in this area is recommended to ascertain the perspectives of a purposive sample of children with chronic conditions who require regular monitoring.

© 2013 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.


children; microneedle; minimally invasive; monitoring; perception

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