Evaluation of pharmacokinetics, user handling, and tolerability of peginterferon alfa-2a (40 kDa) delivered via a disposable autoinjector device

Peter Varunok, Eric Lawitz, Kimberly L. Beavers, Gary Matusow, Ruby Leong, Nathalie Lambert, Coen Bernaards, Jonathan Solsky, Barbara J. Brennan, Cynthia Wat, Anne Bertasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Peginterferon alfa-2a (40 kDa) is currently administered using a prefilled syringe. The peginterferon alfa-2a disposable autoinjector is a new safety-engineered device designed to facilitate injection and reduce the risk of needlestick injuries. The analysis of two open-label Phase I trials evaluated the pharmacokinetics, successful administration, and tolerability of peginterferon alfa-2a when using the autoinjector. The studies were performed to support the filing and registration of the autoinjector device. Methods: In trial 1, 50 healthy adult subjects received one 180 μg dose of peginterferon alfa-2a via the autoinjector. Serial blood samples were collected predose, up to 336 hours following drug administration, and at follow-up (28 ± 3 days post-dosing) for noncompartmental pharmacokinetic analysis. Trial 2 randomized 60 adult patients with chronic hepatitis C to 180 μg peginterferon alfa-2a once weekly by the autoinjector or prefilled syringe for 3 weeks followed by the alternative device (prefilled syringe or autoinjector, respectively) for 3 weeks. Patients also received ribavirin. Administration by the devices was evaluated under direct observation by a study staff member and by patient subjective assessment. Results: In trial 1, following a single dose of peginterferon alfa-2a, the maximum plasma concentration was 16.1 ± 5.3 ng/mL (mean ± standard deviation), and area under the concentration time curve (0-168 hours) was 1996 ± 613 ng • hour/mL, similar to that reported using a vial/syringe or prefilled syringe. In trial 2, few patients showed handling difficulties with either device. Generally, patients were observed to be more satisfied and confident, followed instructions better, and successfully initiated injection with the autoinjector versus the prefilled syringe. Patients reported the autoinjector to be more convenient and easier to use. No pain or discomfort was experienced using the autoinjector. The autoinjector safety profile was consistent with that known for peginterferon alfa-2a/ribavirin. Conclusion: These results indicate that peginterferon alfa-2a can be successfully and safely delivered via the autoinjector and that the device is easy to handle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-599
Number of pages13
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2011


  • Disposable autoinjector
  • Hepatitis C
  • Peginterferon alfa-2a
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • User handling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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