Researchers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom partnered with Medherant, a bioadhesives company, to produce and patent the world’s first-ever ibuprofen patch. The patch is designed to deliver drugs directly through skin to the exact place it’s needed, at a consistent dose rate.
Around the world there are other topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) formulations available to consumers but the consistency of gels and creams makes it difficult to reliably apply equivalent doses. With the newly designed patch, a high dose of ibuprofen is consistently delivered directly through the skin for a prolonged length of time. The patch is designed to administer the drug at a steady rate for up to 12 hours.
The new product also differs from other patches on the market sold for relief, that use things like menthol to alleviate pain. “Many commercial patches surprisingly don’t contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect. Our technology now means that we can for the first time produce patches that contain effective doses of active ingredients such as ibuprofen for which no patches currently exist,” explains University of Warwick research chemist, Professor David Haddleton.
The high drug load and consistent drug release means the new technology is able to out-perform other patches and gels currently on the market. Medherant’s new patch technology beats the competition in their ability to deliver a constant and significant dose of the drug over a prolonged period of time. The transparent design is made with stronger adhesion than some other products and ensures the patch remains stuck over its time of use, but is still easy and comfortable to remove.
In addition to the ease of use, the ability to administer ibuprofen through the patch could help treat chronic conditions like back pain or arthritis, without the threat of bleeding, ulcers or heart and stroke side effects that come with large oral dosages.
Medherant is still working on the product and expects the first over-the-counter pain relief patches to be on the market in about 2 years. Researchers are also now expanding the transdermal patch technology to test a wide range of drugs, to possibly create additional skin patches that would administer different medicine in the future.
This advancement is important for injured workers who would greatly benefit from the use of an NSAID but are limited due to the adverse effects of chronic treatment with oral formulations. As this patch comes to market it could prove to be another effective tool in the hands of pain management providers while lacking the abuse potential associated with other pain medications. For KeyScripts customers the additional treatment option would be an FDA approved, commercially available alternative to expensive compounds and offer another pain treatment option outside of opioids. It could save money, produce better outcomes and help patients get back to work faster following their injury.