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Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2006 Feb;98(2):218-21.

Pain perception after subcutaneous injections of media containing different buffers.

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Medical Department M (Diabetes and Endocrinology), Aarhus Sygehus, NBG, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.


Several hormones are administered by daily subcutaneous injections. Pain caused by subcutaneous injection is an unpleasant condition, which can limit patient compliance. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the perception of pain by subcutaneous injection of two different and commercially available solutions for dispensing recombinant human growth hormone. The solutions are characterised by pH, conservation, and buffer. Isotonic saline was used as reference solution. Fifty-four healthy volunteers (mean age (+/-S.E.M.): 35.5+/-1.1 years) were recruited to the double-blind, randomised study. All injections were performed pairwise (right and left thigh) in one day by the same experienced nurse. Perception of pain was evaluated by the volunteers immediately after injection and 2 min. after injection into the thigh of three formulations, which differed with respect to pH and buffers (histidine, citrate and saline, respectively). Significantly more participants (38/54) found than the citrate buffer caused more pain than the histidine buffer immediately after injection (P=0.002). Histidine buffer did not cause more pain than saline (P=0.996). After 2 min., there was no difference between the histidine and the citrate buffer (P=1.00), nor between the histidine buffer and saline (P=1.00). In summary, the solution-containing citrate as buffer caused more pain after subcutaneous injection than the solution with histidine as buffer. Considering patient compliance, it seems advisable to employ histidine-buffered solution rather than citrate-buffered solution for dispensing recombinant human growth hormone by daily subcutaneous injections.

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