Researchers at the University of Warwick have created the world’s first ibuprofen patch delivering the drug directly through skin to exactly where it is needed at a consistent dose rate, the product’s patent holder, Medherant stated in a press release.
The transparent adhesive patch uses a polymer matrix that stores the drug and sticks to the patient’s skin. The company reports it delivers the drug at a steady rate for up to 12 hours.
Why is this important? It opens the way for the delivery of other over-the-counter pain medicines through a long-acting patch without the risks of taking the drugs orally.
“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. Also, we can improve the drug loading and stickiness of patches containing other active ingredients to improve patient comfort and outcome,” University of Warwick research chemist David Haddleton said.
While novel, there are other means to apply ibuprofen directly to the skin, such as with gels, which some may find less convenient than a patch. The company also notes that the patch can hold 5-10 times more concentrated amounts of ibuprofen than gels.
“Our success in developing this breakthrough patch design isn’t limited to ibuprofen; we have also had great results testing the patch with methyl salicylate (used in liniments, gels and some leading commercial patches). We believe that many other over the counter and prescription drugs can exploit our technology and we are seeking opportunities to test a much wider range of drugs and treatments within our patch,” Haddleton said.
Nigel Davis, CEO of Medherant said the first products will be over-the-counter pain relief patches and that the company expects they will be on the market in about two years.