Researchers at the University of Warwick, U.K., have presented a world first, an ibuprofen patch that can deliver a steady dose of the drug directly through the skin to provide pain relief exactly where needed.
The university has worked with Coventry-based Medherant, which specializes in transdermal patch-based drug products, to produce and patent the ibuprofen patch.
It works by holding a large amount of ibuprofen inside a polymer matrix, as much as 30 per cent of the weight of the patch, which then sticks to the patient's skin, delivering the drug at a consistent rate for up to 12 hours.
Other benefits of the patch include its ability to remain sticky, and therefore adhere to the skin effectively, while still being comfortable and easy to remove, and its transparent design, which makes its more aesthetically pleasing to the patient.
The new technology could be beneficial for sufferers of chronic back pain, neuralgia, and arthritis, removing the need to take potentially damaging doses of ibuprofen orally. Although ibuprofen gels are available, which like the patch are also applied to the skin, they are not as convenient to apply and dosage is not as easy to control. And, of the patches that are available, none contain drugs or provide pain relief, but rather soothe the body with their warming effect.
This new invention will also open up new possibilities for other drugs to be delivered in the same way. The team have also had success using the patch with methyl salicylate, used in liniments and gels to treat joint and muscular pain, and are also looking into opportunities to test the patch with a wider range of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Nigel Davis, CEO of Medherant commented that the first products from this new development will be over-the-counter pain relief patches, which the company expects to be on sale in around two years' time.