Big news for folks with bad backs, arthritis, and chronic pain disorders: Researchers have created the first-ever ibuprofen patch. The patch, which adheres to the skin and releases the anti-inflammatory drug steadily for up to 12 hours, is the product of a collaboration between scientists at the University of Warwick and a Warwick-affiliated bioadhesives company called Medherant.
Researchers claim to have found a way to incorporate significant amounts of ibuprofen—five to 10 times what is found in most existing medical patches and gels—into a transparent wearable patch that’s sticky enough to stay attached to the skin for hours, without being uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, the patch won’t be on the market for another two years. But researchers believe the new technology may pave the way for other kinds of skin patches, and Medherant is exploring creating other over-the-counter drug patches with the aim of offering longer-lasting relief from the symptoms of a range of everyday illnesses. The skin patches will ensure medication is delivered in safe increments, reducing the chances of accidental over-consumption.
“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)," David Haddleton of the University of Warwick explained in a press release. "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.”