Medical patches - medicines that get under your skin

Many diseases require regular medication. This regular intake, an important part of the so-called "compliance" (therapy compliance), can sometimes be difficult. For example, patients forget to take the medication, the tablets are too big or crumble when dividing. Doctors, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are therefore endeavoring to develop drugs that facilitate compliance. One way to do this is with drug patches applied directly to the skin.

The skin passes through active ingredients

Transdermal Therapeutic Systems, TTS for short, contain a drug depot, which delivers evenly defined amounts of the active ingredient via the skin to the bloodstream. For an active ingredient to be released through the skin, certain conditions must be met.

The active ingredient must be predominantly fat-soluble, but also have a water-soluble content. The molecular mass must be relatively small so that the substance can penetrate the skin layers painlessly. And finally, even small dosages must be able to develop their effect in the body.

Avoid overdose

If first membrane patches were used, which release the active ingredient extremely evenly, today it is primarily so-called matrix patches that facilitate the administration of medication. They contain the active ingredient in a gel or plastic, from which it is released slowly. Although the release of active ingredient is not quite as uniform as in a membrane patch, but here the risk of overdose after cutting the patch is much lower. Your application is therefore safer.

travel paving

The classic medication patches is the scopolamine patch, which has been used against travel sickness since the mid-1970s. It is placed five hours before the start of the journey in a dry, glabrous area behind the ear and unfolds from there its effect against dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Because the drug scopolamine can cause vision problems, you should wash your hands thoroughly after applying the patch, to avoid accidental exposure to the drug.

pain patch

Pain plasters on the skin are considered an ideal application for chronic pain patients. The analgesic effect lasts much longer and there are fewer side effects such as constipation or fatigue than with a tablet. By absorption through the skin, the gastrointestinal passage is bypassed, the active ingredient can thus enter directly into the blood. This is also beneficial for patients with impaired liver and kidney function.

Since 2001, there is a pain patch with the active ingredient buprenorphine, which has a 25- to 50-fold greater effect than morphine. The duration of action is five to eight hours. In order not to be overdosed, the minimum time intervals between two patches, which are changed every 72 hours, must be strictly adhered to.

Instead of a nitrate spray or a capsule for biting nitrate patches can be glued against angina pectoris attacks. It must be ensured that a twelve-hour nitrate-free interval is maintained, so that the effect of nitroglycerin is not weakened.

hormone patches

In the ongoing discussion about hormone replacement therapy, the hormone patches play an increasingly important role. Because the drug delivery is continuous, can be dosed significantly less with the patch. There are hormone patches with a dosage for 3.5 and 7 days. In contrast to the daily tablets, the patch only has to be changed once or twice a week.

As a replacement for a hormone treatment by syringe, there are also hormone patches for men in menopause.

Important tips

Except for nicotine patches, which are used for smoking cessation, all transdermal therapeutic systems are subject to prescription. Who uses a drug patch, should note the following:

  • The plaster must not be cut or damaged, otherwise the dosage can not be maintained.
  • The patch should be applied to a clean, dry area of ​​the skin and changed as directed by the physician or the package leaflet.
  • To avoid irritation, it should always be applied to another place when changing.
  • If the patch is removed, the drug delivery is stopped immediately.
  • Bathing and showering is possible with plaster.
  • For disposal, the patches should be glued together so that children can not come into contact with it.
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