World's First Ibuprofen Patch Makes Its Pain Relief Debut

You’ve heard of the nicotine patches that help people quit smoking, and recently a patch to help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exercise was introduced. Now the world’s first ibuprofen patch to provide pain relief has made its way on the scene.

You’ve heard of the nicotine patches that help people quit smoking, and recently a patch to help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exercise was introduced. Now the world’s first ibuprofen patch to provide pain relief has made its way on the scene.

Researchers at the University of Warwick teamed up with the bioadhesives company, Medherant, to develop a transparent adhesive patch that delivers ibuprofen directly through the skin.

“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,” David Haddleton, BSc, DPhil York, said in a news release.

  • The MD Magazine Pain Management specialty page

Gone are the days when oral drugs were the only option for pain relief. The patch provides a high dose of ibuprofen at a consistent rate for up to 12 hours. Up to 30% of the weight of the patch incorporates ibuprofen into the part that sticks to the person’s skin, called the polymer matrix. This drug load is five to 10 times more than the medical patches and gels available now. The team sees the new analgesic being used for chronic back pain, neuralgia, and arthritis.

Image: University of Warwick

There are several types of ibuprofen gels on the market, but they don’t provide the ideal application and controlling dosage becomes more of a challenge. However, the patch can be easily applied and removed without leaving residue.

“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),” explained Haddleton, a professor of chemistry at the University of Warwick.

The new technology is patented and appears to be a little smaller than a Post-it. Luckily, it doesn’t look like consumers will have to wait too long to try it out for themselves.

“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 two years,” Nigel Davis, CEO of Medherant, confirmed. “In addition to our pain relief products, our technology also works with drugs in many other therapeutic areas.”

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