Most people prefer swallowing a pill to having a needle stuck in them.
But sometimes a needle is the best way to deliver drugs.
Capsules degrade in your digestive system when you swallow them. A lot of the time that's integral to getting the drugs into your system, but sometimes it's a pain. The pH of your digestive system can also cause problems.
So for some drugs, needles are the only way – and right now that means an injection.
So, thought a group of scientists from MIT and Harvard Medical School, why not attach a load of tiny needles to a pill?
I mean, there are several reasons that spring to mind, but anyway.
A pill-needle combo should satisfy everyone. Patients are happy because they don't have to have an injection, doctors are happy because they don't have to give anyone an injection, and the drugs are happy because they have an efficient delivery method and get to do their job. Yay!
Here are the two concepts they came up with: hollow microneedles, and solid microneedles.
Right now it's just a concept.
The scientists tested a microneedle pill in a pig's digestive tract and found that the pill managed to pass through safely. Next step: developing the concept further, so we might be able to use them in humans one day.