Transdermal Therapeutic Systems

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Chapter: Essential pharmacology : Introduction And Routes Of Administration

These are devices in the form of adhesive patches of various shapes and sizes (5–20 cm2) which deliver the contained drug at a constant rate into systemic circulation via the stratum corneum.


TRANSDERMAL THERAPEUTIC SYSTEMS

 

These are devices in the form of adhesive patches of various shapes and sizes (5–20 cm2) which deliver the contained drug at a constant rate into systemic circulation via the stratum corneum (Fig. 1.2). The drug (in solution or bound to a polymer) is held in a reservoir between an occlusive backing film and a rate controlling micropore membrane, the under surface of which is smeared with an adhesive impregnated with priming dose of the drug. The adhesive layer is protected by another film that is to be peeled off just before application. The drug is delivered at the skin surface by diffusion for percutaneous absorption into circulation. The micropore membrane is such that rate of drug delivery to skin surface is less than the slowest rate of absorption from skin. This offsets any variation in the rate of absorption according to the properties of different sites. As such, the drug is delivered at a constant and predictable rate irrespective of site of application: usually chest, abdomen, upper arm, lower back, buttock or mastoid region are utilized.




Transdermal patches of GTN, fentanyl, nicotine and estradiol are available in India, while those of isosorbide dinitrate, hyoscine, and clonidine are available in other countries. These have been designed to last for 1–7 days in case of different drugs and are becoming increasingly popular, because they provide smooth plasma concentrations of the drug without fluctuations; minimize interindividual variations (drug is subjected to little first pass metabolism) and side effects. They are also more convenient—many patients prefer transdermal patches to oral tablets of the same drug; patient compliance is better. Local irritation and erythema occurs in some, but is generally mild; can be minimized by changing the site of application each time by rotation. Discontinuation has been necessary in 2–7% cases.

 

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