Oxo Redesigns the Common Syringe

The new design helps those with rheumatoid arthritis with the tricky task of self-administered injections.


Most syringes are designed for experts, rather than patients–and that makes self-administered shots all the more tricky. So OXO–better known for its ingenious ergonomics solutions for the kitchen–teamed up with UCB, a pharmaceutical company, to design a syringe that’s as safe and easy-to-use as possible.

0xo cimzia

The Cimzia was just approved last month by the Food and Drug Administration, and it’s already been awarded an Ease-of-Use commendation, following independent vetting by the Arthritis Foundation. The demographic is fairly specific: Each syringe comes pre-loaded with medication for treating Crohn’s disease, while the design in particular is meant to aid those with arthritis. It does so with a slew of subtle changes to the typical syringe design:

  • Finger holds that are wide and easy to grip, and made of soft, no-slip rubber
  • Needle cover with a rounded finger loop for easy removal, and a flared edge that reduces accidental needle pricks when the syringe is re-capped
  • A plunger with a big, easy-to-push thumb pad
  • A magnified barrel that makes dosages easier to read, and helps patients know when they’ve injected the entire dose
  • An elliptical barrel that makes it easier to grip, and less likely to slip
  • Packaging that’s easy to open, including Velcro tabs, plastic housing with large finger wells, and instructions accompanied by clear visuals

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OXO’s Favorite Mistakes From Issue 99 | October 2005
Masters of Design: Sam Farber From Issue 83 | June 2004

[Via Core 77 (which has an interesting visual history of syringes) and UCB]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.