The common pain reliever ibuprofen is usually administered in pill form; however, researchers at the University of Warwick and its spinoff company, Medherant, have found a way to put ibuprofen in a skin patch.
Made up of a polymer matrix, the transparent patch is sticky enough to hold onto the skin, regardless of its high drug content, which can be up to 30% of the patch's weight.
The patch is able to deliver a high dose of the painkiller to the applied area for up to 12 hours at a steady rate.
The benefit to using the patch over the oral pill is the ability the patch has in healing chronic conditions such as back pain or arthritis, without the risk of side effects such as heart complications and stroke.
“Many commercial patches surprisingly don’t contain any pain relief agents at all; they simply soothe the body by a warming effect,” said David Haddleton, research chemist at University of Warwick. “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."
The spinoff company is currently looking into developing other brands of medication into the polymer patch technology.
According to researchers, the ibuprofen patch will be available to consumers in about two years.