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Researchers create World’s first ibuprofen patch

9 December 2015  •  Author: Victoria White

Researchers at the University of Warwick and Medherant have produced and patented the World’s first ever ibuprofen patch.

ibuprofen patch

CREDIT: University of Warwick

The ibuprofen patch delivers the drug directly through skin to exactly where it is needed at a consistent dose rate.

The University of Warwick researchers and Medherant have found a way to incoporate significant amounts of the drug (up to 30% weight) into the polymer matrix that sticks the patch to the patient’s skin with the drug then being delivered at a steady rate over up to 12 hours. This opens the way for the development of a range of novel long-acting over-the-counter pain relief products which can be used to treat common painful conditions like chronic back pain, neuralgia and arthritis without the need to take potentially damaging doses of the drug orally. Although there are a number of popular ibuprofen gels available these make it difficult to control dosage and are inconvenient to apply.

The key features of the ibuprofen patch technology are: The patch remains highly tacky and thus adheres well to skin even when the drug load reaches levels as high as 30% of the weight/volume of the patch. The drug load made possible by this new technology can be 5 -10 times than that found in some currently used medical patches and gels.

Ibuprofen patch contains an effective dose

University of Warwick research chemist Professor David Haddleton said: “Many commercial patches surprisingly don’t contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect. 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. Also, we can improve the drug loading and stickiness of patches containing other active ingredients to improve patient comfort and outcome.

“There are only a limited number of existing polymers that have the right characteristics to be used for this type of transdermal patches — that will stick to the skin and not leave residues when being easily removed. Furthermore, there are also only a limited number of drugs that will dissolve into these existing polymers. Medherant’s technology now opens up the field of transdermal drug delivery to previously non-compatible drugs.”

Nigel Davis, CEO of Medherant, said: “Our first products will be over-the-counter pain relief patches and through partnering we would expect to have the first of those products on the market in around 2 years. In addition to our pain relief products, our technology also works with drugs in many other therapeutic areas. We can see considerable opportunities in working with pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative products using our next generation transdermal drug-delivery platform.”

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