Do You Know How Transdermal Patches Work?

    Do you know how transdermal patches work? It’s a good thing to know. It can help you understand some of the things you see on sale at your local store or pharmacy. It might even help you make educated decisions when discussing treatment options with your doctor about managing or curing something.

    The markets and economies of many nations have quite a few medications. These are designed to either cure or at least manage and ease the symptoms of hundreds and even thousands of different conditions, afflictions, and ailments. Medications have many different delivery methods. Traditional or conventional options include powders, pills, capsules, liquids, and even intravenous needles. However, many are invasive, painful, inefficient, and even result in unwanted side effects. Transdermal patches are a relatively new way to administer medicines that treat many common issues.

    Transdermal patches are a way of delivering medication through a patient’s skin in a manner that is non-invasive, whereas needles are invasive. In the case of transdermal drug delivery, there is a patch adhered to the skin of a patient. This patch has the prescribed or recommended medication for the patient, and the patch is designed in a particular way so that the medication will permeate the skin in a managed process, so that the body can enjoy steadier levels of that drug. Patches for various therapeutic purposes are now marketed for being worn anytime and place, ranging in duration from 8 hours up to a week. Such patches get secured to the skin using adhesives, and these are manufactured in ways so that they can remain in place on the skin securely and comfortably, letting a patient use the patches for however long their doctor recommends.

    One big advantage of transdermal patches from is how easy they are to use, as they deliver medications in a simple way that is efficient for many but not all drugs. The medication is typically on only one side of the patch, which is the same side as the adhesives for skin contact.

    Did you know that your skin is your largest organ throughout your physical body? It covers you, protecting you, regenerating as needed, but it also provides some permeation. The permeation is limited, but it’s also essential. Your skin comes in three distinct layers.

    The initial layer is the epidermis, which is the outermost layer and what people can see and touch. This layer is where transdermal patches would be used, and it’s also where you have something called the stratum corneum. That’s the principal barrier the skin uses to prevent foreign substances from entering.

    Underneath the epidermis is the dermis, or the second layer of skin. This is where you start finding connective tissue which is what gives your skin its shape and resilience. You’ll also find hair follicles and sweat glands here. When transdermal medication gets into this layer of skin, the dermis then relays the substances into the deepest of the three layers.

    That’s the hypodermis. This deeper tissue is truly subcutaneous and made up more of connective tissue and fat than anything else. This is where blood vessels are located before they reach into the top two layers. Medication from transdermal patches has to get into these blood vessels in order to reach the rest of the body.

    Transdermal patches, when possible, provide many advantages as compared to liquid, powder, and pill forms of delivering medication. On top of the previously stated advantage of the simplicity of it for the patient, patches are also able to get medication directly into the bloodstream. This bypasses the metabolic activity going on in your liver. If you wear a transdermal patch, your own body heat activates it, which prompts it to start releasing medication through your skin and into the bloodstream. The next advantage is that medication will be delivered constantly, steadily, and gradually, so you’re not hit with one big dose, as is often the case with oral and injectable medications.

    You also get to have medication that doesn’t go through your digestive system, which is a very acidic environment. Conventional liquids, powders, and pills might be designed to be broken down by stomach acid, although that can be hard on your digestive system, resulting in the medication not being as effective as it could be. Patches might also have fewer side effects since they don’t upset or involve your gastrointestinal tract.

    One huge benefit of transdermal patches is that they are very painless, which injections are certainly not. Even if you get used to being jabbed with needles and don’t mind the pain, there can still be lingering discomfort and irritation. A patch just gets put on to your skin before you wear it for the prescribed amount of time and then you remove it when it’s done. Patients can typically apply and remove patches on their own without going to their doctor to get a shot. Who likes paying a copay for an appointment where someone stabs them with a needle?

    The history of transdermals might actually date back to ancient China. Medicated plasters would get slathered onto a person’s skin and then left to dry. This method lets a medication have constant and direct contact with a person’s skin, and that’s the same basic premise that modern patch designers use. ┬áThe first transdermal patch that saw US FDA certification and acceptance was approved in 1979 for motion sickness. The industry further rose to prominence in the 1990s when nicotine patches came to the market to help millions quit smoking. Since then, other applications have included pain relief, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s disease, and even birth control.

    As with anything involving your health, talk to your doctor or primary care physician in the cases of prescription options. Do know, however, that there are also many transdermal patches that are over the counter for basic matters like nicotine relief if you’re trying to quit smoking or just pain patches that can help out with sore and cramped muscles. This method of medication delivery isn’t an option for all medicines, as some have molecules too thick to go through the skin, but in cases where you can skip a needle, it’s a good thing to try out.