COVENTRY, England, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Scientists have created an ibuprofen patch that can deliver the widely-used pain relief drug directly to the location it is needed -- for up to 12 hours.
The long-acting patch could eliminate the need to take potentially dangerous high doses orally, which could help patients with chronic conditions such as back pain, neuralgia and arthritis.
Using a polymer technology developed by the adhesive company Bostik, scientists at the University of Warwick said they can deliver higher doses of the painkiller than are found in currently used medical patches and gels.
"Many commercial patches surprisingly don't contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect," said David Haddleton, a research chemist at the University of Warwick, in a press release. "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. Also, we can improve the drug loading and stickiness of patches containing other active ingredients to improve patient comfort and outcome."
The scientists said the polymer matrix used to make the patch sticky holds about 30 percent by weight ibuprofen, significantly more than the 10 percent other patches and gels have.
Scientists said there is a limited number of substances that can be used in patches which allow for stickiness, high drug loads, and remaining thin and flexible.
The patch is expected to be brought to market within about two years by Medherent, a company formed by Haddleton with the university to commercialize the pain relief patches, and others they believe the patch technology will allow.