Transdermal medicines are the ones that can be administered topically, but instead of affecting the surface, the active components are infused into the bloodstream passing through the dermal barrier.
During the later half of the 20th century, the popularity of transdermal patches increased manifolds. Even though, there are still major studies going around the technology.
In this article, you shall find what these patches are and how do they benefit you.
History Of Transdermal Medicines
The use of topical ointments and creams can be dated back to ancient Egyptian and Babylonian medicine. People in ancient Egypt used various natural products such as turmeric, natural oils, etc. for cosmetic purposes. These products were used in making salves, ointments, potions, and sometimes even patches.
Numerous references are supporting the use of transdermal medicines dating back as long as the earliest human civilization. Thus, there use is not at all a new concept. The only difference is the improvement in engineering technologies that have enhanced better delivery and effectiveness of these medicines.
**It is noteworthy that not all topical medicines are transdermal, whereas, all transdermal medicines are topical.
What are Transdermal Patches?
A transdermal patch is a form of topical drug delivery system that is applied to the skin with the help of an adhesive. It is engineered to supply small amounts of active compounds directly into the bloodstream via the epidermal membrane.
The principle behind the transdermal delivery system is the permeability of the epidermis by certain compounds, which may otherwise, need to be administered orally or intravenously. These patches are designed to create a structure that supplies the body with a pre-determined dose of the drug, in a controlled manner over a certain period.
How to Use Transdermal Patches?
There are certain dos and don’ts to using these transdermal patches for maximum effectiveness. For example, you should always clean the surface before applying a patch to your skin. Regardless of the type of medicine, here are some guidelines that you can follow.
- Use soap and water to clean the surface. If water is not available, you can also wipe the surface using a sanitizing solution.
- If you are already using a patch, you need to peel it off before you apply the new one.
- Going through the instructions that are supplied along with the patch can help decide the location, position, and duration for which the patch needs to be applied.
- Remove the protective layer and apply the patch to the desired place. Gently press against the sides of the patch to secure its position. Move your fingers in a circular motion along the periphery of the patch to ensure that it is attached to the skin properly.
Some Utter Benefits Of Using Transdermal Patches
Transdermal patches can offer a lot of benefits over any other form of drug administration. For example, http://optimisticmommy.com/vitamin-patches-a-good-alternative-to-pills/ suggest that these patches are easier to use, as well as, provides equivalent benefits (if not more) as that with oral vitamin intake. This is just one of the many reasons why you should be using transdermal patches.
Let’s dig a little more. Here are some benefits to help you decide why you should be choosing transdermal patches over other alternatives.
Patches Help Maintain Drug Level In Blood
If you’ve been taking medicines and supplements orally, you must have realized that their effect does not last for more than a few hours. This is because oral administration compels the drugs to pass through the digestive tract. As a result of the body’s natural metabolic process, the active compounds in the drug are digested over time. Whereas, using transdermal patches allows the medicinal compounds to bypass the digestive tract. Thus maintaining an optimal concentration of the active compounds in the bloodstream till the time it is attached to your skin.
Lower Drug Contents Are Needed For Administration
Another drawback of oral administration of drugs is the amount of drug intake required by the patient. Usually, oral pills contain higher doses of the drug than required by the body to heal. This is because the liver breaks down the drug and digests a portion of them before they can be fused with the blood. This can be avoided with the help of transdermal patches. For example, women experiencing menopause on oral pills, take 2mg of estradiol per day. Whereas, if administered through patches, the amount significantly reduces to about 0.025mg to 0.05mg per day. This is almost 0.4% to 0.8% of the amount present in oral pills.
Few Or No Side-Effects At All
For some drugs that are administered orally, often the patient is advised to consume food at the same time or a few minutes before taking medicine. In the absence of food to be metabolized the medicinal substances are prone to suffer from the food effect. This may lead to the most common side effect that oral medicines have- the liver intoxication, which is the result of consuming medicines with an empty stomach. Since oral pills are suggested to be consumed with food, they may remain ineffective otherwise, in certain cases. Or may even lead to a potential risk of the higher dose, as they cannot be metabolized properly. This is not true in the case of transdermal administration. This is because the medicines and active compounds are directly infused into the bloodstream.
Easier To Use & Long-Lasting Effects
Taking medicines orally or intravenously can be painstaking for some patients. For example, some people have difficulty swallowing oral pills and capsules, while others may simply forget to take it on time. This may lead to the failure of the therapy. On the contrary, transdermal patches do not require to be replaced frequently. For example, usually, a multivitamin patch may last for a week, delivering the medicines into the bloodstream in small doses. This, in turn, helps increase the longevity of the medicinal patch and also improves its effectiveness over the therapy period. Moreover, in case, the patient forgets to replace the patch on time, these patches can still keep on infusing active compounds into the bloodstream. Although, the strength of the patch may decline over this period.
The studies are still going on to enhance the effectiveness of these transdermal patches. Nevertheless, these patches are still better than many of the prominent modes of administering medicines.
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