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The systematic application of human factors engineering (HFE) principles to the development of drug-device combination products, including epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs), has the potential to improve the effectiveness and safety of drug administration. A PubMed search was performed to assess the role of HFE in the development of drug-device combination products. The following keywords were used in different combinations: 'human factors engineering,' 'human factors,' 'medical products,' 'epinephrine/adrenaline auto-injector,' 'healthcare' and 'patient safety.' This review provides a summary of HFE principles and their application to the development of drug-device combination products as advised by the US FDA. It also describes the HFE process that was applied to the development of Auvi-Q, a novel EAI, highlighting specific steps that occurred during the product-development program. For drug-device combination products, device labeling and usability are critical and have the potential to impact clinical outcomes. Application of HFE principles to the development of drug-delivery devices has the potential to improve product quality and reliability, reduce risk and improve patient safety when applied early in the development process. Additional clinical and real-world studies will confirm whether the application of HFE has helped to develop an EAI that better meets the needs of patients at risk of anaphylaxis.


Eric S Edwards, Evan T Edwards, F Estelle R Simons, Robert North. Drug-device combination products in the twenty-first century: epinephrine auto-injector development using human factors engineering. Expert opinion on drug delivery. 2015 May;12(5):751-62

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PMID: 25435244

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