Researchers in the United Kingdom have created the world's first polymer patch that delivers ibuprofen directly through the skin. Scientists at the University of Warwick (Coventry, UK), working collaboratively with Coventry-based spinout company Medherant, have found a way to integrate significant amounts of ibuprofen into a polymer matrix that adheres to the skin and releases the drug at a consistent rate for as long as 12 hours. Incorporating polymer technology developed by global adhesives company Bostik (Milwaukee, WI) that is exclusively licensed to Medherant for transdermal use, the patch technology has the potential to be used with a range of pain-relief products to treat conditions such as chronic back pain and arthritis.
A key feature of the patch is the drug load, which can be as much as 30% of the patch's weight and volume. This is five to 10 times greater than currently used patches and gels, according to researchers. Although it features a strong adhesion profile, it can be easily and comfortably removed, adds Medherant.
"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," said University of Warwick Research Chemist Professor David Haddleton in a prepared statement. "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."
Medherant expects to have the first over-the-counter pain-relief patches on the market within the next two years.