For several years a supervised methadone dosing service has been available to recovering drug addicts. Available in pharmacies, rehabilitation centres and prisons, this allows the patient to receive his or her prescribed daily medication as a single dose taken in the presence of a pharmacist, therapist or prison officer.

However, although this method has proved highly successful, dispensing methadone manually is a relatively high-risk, costly and time-consuming procedure.

MethaMeasure addresses this issue by providing a fast and automatic method of administering methadone. The dispensing system, housed in a compact cabinet, initially identifies the patient by fingerprint. A pump then measures the appropriate dose of methadone for the patient to drink and a record of the event is automatically saved.

Needless to say, the accuracy of dosage and the reliability of system are critically important. Reducing the potential of human error is a key benefit of the system as, at worse, an incorrect dose could prove fatal to the patient. To ensure the best pump was selected for the job, MethaMeasure called on the expertise of OEM pump specialist Verder.

The model selected for this application was the Verderflex M500 ac. This is a robust pump with a proven track record for a variety of applications including vending, chemical dosing and condensate removal. It has a flow rate of up 730ml/min.

No internal backflow on the Verderflex M500 OEM pump ensures accurate dosing without slip providing repeatability of typically ±0.2% and metering capability of ±2%. This performance meets the stipulations of both the Weights and Measures and new Medicines Act and therefore makes it the ideal choice for MethaMeasure.

Several application-specific factors had to be borne in mind in choosing the pump. Avoiding contamination is of course a key point but as the Verderflex OEM peristaltic pumps are based on a patented, seal-less design, only the tube comes into contact with the medication.

The tube itself was also selected to be resistant to the acidity of the methadone and the simplicity of pump design makes it easy and quick to exchange the tube in the field.

“Customer service was the overriding factor in our choice of Verder,” said MethaMeasure’s Stephen Dickson. “Their people have been excellent, helping us develop a completely new product that is compliant with all relevant regulations. They have pushed this project from concept to full design and implementation.”

The number of installations of MethaMeasure is testimony to the success of this product. Stephen Dickson said: “The product is now in every pharmacy chain in the UK and also installed in more than 300 independents.”