Medical

First-ever ibuprofen patch delivers pain relief right where it's needed

First-ever ibuprofen patch del...
The transdermal patch can dispense ibuprofen through the skin for up to 12 hours
The transdermal patch can dispense ibuprofen through the skin for up to 12 hours
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University of Warwick research chemist Prof. David Haddleton (left) and Medherant CEO Nigel Davis, with a sheet of the patch material
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University of Warwick research chemist Prof. David Haddleton (left) and Medherant CEO Nigel Davis, with a sheet of the patch material
The transdermal patch can dispense ibuprofen through the skin for up to 12 hours
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The transdermal patch can dispense ibuprofen through the skin for up to 12 hours

One problem with orally-administered painkillers is that even though you may just have pain in a particular area, the medication affects your whole body. This both increases the chance of side effects, and limits the effect of the medication on that one area. Now, however, scientists at Britain's University of Warwick have developed a solution – they've created the world's first ibuprofen skin patch.

Made from a flexible adhesive polymer that was custom-designed by the Bostik company, the patch can incorporate up to 30 percent ibuprofen by weight. When applied externally to a patient's body, the medication gradually leaches from the polymer and through the skin at a controlled rate – it can remain active for up to 12 hours. The concentrated ibuprofen goes straight to work at the desired location, instead of first traveling throughout the patient's bloodstream.

While ibuprofen-containing topical gels do already exist, they release the painkiller at a considerably less consistent rate, and are messier to apply. Additionally, they don't contain as much of it – the 30 percent figure is 5 to 10 times higher than what is possible with most other medication-containing patches and gels.

And even though the patch does reportedly stay attached the skin quite well, it can be peeled off with no adhesive residue and little discomfort.

University of Warwick research chemist Prof. David Haddleton (left) and Medherant CEO Nigel Davis, with a sheet of the patch material
University of Warwick research chemist Prof. David Haddleton (left) and Medherant CEO Nigel Davis, with a sheet of the patch material

According to the university, the polymer could also be used to create transdermal patches that dispense other types of medication – some of which can't be dissolved into conventional polymers, so aren't currently available in patch-form.

The ibuprofen patch is being commercialized through U Warwick spin-off company Medherant, and is expected to hit the market within about two years.

Source: University of Warwick

6 comments
royalmotor
My God, what a Patent....
RichDragon
I've been using these seven day buprenorphine patches for a very long time. The problem is that the drugs burn the skin so I have to peel them off after two days and stick them on another non hairy part of my body (stickiness becomes non-effective as the adhesive is mainly left behind after first move). The adhesive square is left behind and has to be scraped off with my finger nail, really painful, the square where the drug has touched my skin is bright red and I then have to apply E45 which is a cream that soothes it. Hopefully the Manufacturers will start using this non adhesive patch soon.
habakak
What if you have a headache and are not bald???? Otherwise it seems like a solid improvement on taking painkillers orally.
IndependentResearcher
RichDragon, You could try massaging a small amount of coconut oil into the skin, then wiping away the excess from the surface before you apply the patch. Good luck. Chronic pain sucks. I know first hand since car crash in 1984.
Gaberax
Hemophiliac here. How, if at all, does this impact the risk of bleeding? Any info on that?
Rocky Stefano
I suffer from chronic pain and have been using Fentanyl patches in various sizes. They are convenient from the perspective of maintaining a level dose of medication and pain relief but they are a pain as to where to actually stick them. I can only use them in two spots on my body where they don't peel off or "ripple" up from natural skin motion. I'd rather swallow something that stays in my body for 7 days at a time. Nano-bots where are you?