When you feel a huge headache coming, your solution is ibuprofen and rest. When you pull a muscle and feel the pain, it’s ibuprofen and ice, and when your arthritis is acting up, your solution, once again, is ibuprofen and heat.
The pain reliever is popular not just as a tablet, but also in the form of sprays, gels, or mousses. However, experts say taking ibuprofen orally can cause stomach problems in some individuals.
Now, there is a new form of the drug. Researchers at the University of Warwick developed the first ever ibuprofen patch which can directly provide relief through the skin at a consistent dose rate.
Soon-to-be manufactured by Medherant, the transparent and adhesive ibuprofen patch contains a polymer matrix that stores the drug and delivers ibuprofen through the skin of the patient for up to 12 hours. The transparent patch can also keep a drug load as high as 30 percent, a concentration five to 10 times greater than the drug load found in existing medical gels and patches.
Warwick research chemist David Haddleton explained that most commercial patches do not contain any pain relief agents and can only soothe the body. The new technology that Haddleton and his colleagues created lets patches store effective doses of pain killers, with ibuprofen as the first ingredient.
Haddleton said the patch design is not limited to the use of ibuprofen, and results of their tests showed that patches with methyl salicylate have great potential.
Still, Haddleton said there are only a number of drugs that can dissolve into the patch’s polymers, and there are only a few existing polymers which are suitable for transdermal patches.
Meanwhile, the use of the patch would significantly help patients with chronic pain or arthritis by reducing the risks for stroke and cardiovascular diseases that often come with taking high oral doses, experts said. It may also reduce gastrointestinal problems experienced by patients.
Medherant CEO Nigel Davis said the ibuprofen patches can enhance safety and deliver increased efficacy for patients, eventually contributing to economic benefits to the healthcare system. The ibuprofen patch will be made available as an over-the-counter drug in the next two years.
“We can see considerable opportunities in working with pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative products using our next generation transdermal drug-delivery platform,” said Davis.