Credit: Joe Przedwiecki, Pain Care Labs
Needle sticks from vaccinations or blood draws are the most common, and oftentimes most distressing, medical procedure for children and their parents. This stress can affect a person’s willingness to engage with healthcare professionals and can impact whether parents keep their children up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.
In 2009, NICHD supported the development of Buzzy®, a drug-free device to relieve pain. The palm-sized device delivers vibrations and cold temperatures near a needle stick site to dull the sensation of pain. SBIR support from NICHD enabled the inventor of Buzzy®, Dr. Amy Baxter, to refine her prototype and conduct a clinical study testing the device in infants and children.
Today, Buzzy® is used globally in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and homes to relieve pain associated with needle sticks. These include all types of needle-based medical procedures for children and adults, such as routine insulin injections, routine heparin injections, intravenous catheter placements, and a variety of other medications that must be administered through a needle stick. Buzzy® is easy-to-use, reusable, and inexpensive.
The device is also drug-free and the company, Pain Care Labs, has expanded its work in new directions. The company has created a similar device to relieve general muscle pain in adults and is working on a device tailored for back pain. These devices offer an alternative to drugs and addictive opioids for pain relief. In recognition of the company’s innovation and achievements, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Pain Care Labs a winner of its 2020 Tibbetts Awards .