Purdue researchers develop device to automatically deliver drug to reverse opioid overdose

Purdue University researchers are developing a device that would automatically detect an opiod overdose and deliver naloxone, a drug known to reverse deadly effects, according to a university announcement.
BMES member Hyowon “Hugh” Lee's team built a wearable device designed to detect when a person's respiration rate decreases to a certain level – converted from electrocardiography (EKG) signals – and then release naloxone, which blocks the opioid from binding to brain receptors, according to the article.

Lee is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue.

“The device wouldn't require you to recognize that you're having an overdose or to inject yourself with naloxone, keeping you stable long enough for emergency services to arrive,” said in the article.

Wearing the device would be similar to wearing an insulin pump: The current proof of concept is an armband that straps on a magnetic field generator, connected to a portable battery worn at the hip, according to the article. A sticker-like EKG sensor on the skin, such as on the chest, measures respiration rate. When the sensor detects a respiration rate that's too low, it activates the magnetic field generator to heat up a drug capsule in the body, releasing naloxone in 10 seconds.

The researchers envision the drug capsule being pre-injected under the skin in an outpatient setting.

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