The Transdermal Therapeutic System or TTS involves using a transdermal patch which has a medicated adhesive patch that can be placed on the skin in order to deliver medication in the right dosage through the skin directly into the bloodstream. This system has proven to speed up the healing process compared to other forms of taking medication. The patches used in the transdermal therapeutic systems release the medication gradually into the bloodstream.
Many people seem to find it difficult to swallow pills or even take their medication on time. The TTS can help overcome these issues since it is a more sophisticated form of drug delivery. The system is designed to release small quantities of the medication into the bloodstream over a longer duration. The drug gets absorbed from the patch, passes through the different layers of the skin and finally reaches the bloodstream which is circulated through the body.
Some of the commonly seen TTS medications include pain relievers, hormones, nicotine, and drugs for treating motion sickness and angina and so on. Interestingly, the first transdermal patch contained scopolamine, which is a motion sickness drug. It was placed behind the ear, about a few hours before the first symptoms start showing up. TTS has made treatment a lot more convenient and pleasant for the patient, making it very popular these days.
Which Is Better? The Pill Or The Patch?
Although a majority of medications are available in the form of pills and tablets, it can be unpleasant for many people. People who find it difficult to swallow pills and capsules often struggle with taking medication when they fall sick. In such cases, a transdermal patch can make things a lot easier. It is also extremely useful for people who need to take medication regularly. Forgetfulness is a part of human nature. It is not surprising to see many people forget to take their pills on time.
A patch guarantees that the medication will be delivered without any interruption. You can find patches that last anywhere between twenty-four hours to seven days. In fact, the Scopolamine Base Transdermal System has been proven to help people suffering from motion sickness by blocking the signals that are responsible for nausea and vomiting. Patches are also extremely useful in delivering medication as required overnight, without disturbing the patient’s sleep.
Medications that are administered orally have to first pass through the liver before reaching the gastrointestinal tract. Depending on the medication, a large amount of the drug is absorbed by the liver during metabolization. Only the remaining amount reaches the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the amount of the medication that the body actually receives compared to the dosage ingested dosage is very different. Interestingly this issue does not arise while using transdermal patches.
Advantages Of Transdermal Therapeutic System
The Transdermal therapeutic system offers plenty of benefits to the patient. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- It helps improve the well-being of the patient faster than other medication systems.
- It ensures that the drug level remains constant.
- Fewer side effects have been reported while using the transdermal therapeutic system.
- According to the experts at PatchMD.com, the patch ensures that a constant level of medication reaches the bloodstream. Since none of the medication is lost via metabolism, the body absorbs what it requires.
- It has made it possible to use drugs that are not absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.
- A lower dose is used since the medication is released directly and evenly into the bloodstream of the patient.
How To Use A Transdermal Patch
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to use a transdermal patch safely:
- Read the instructions on the patch cover before proceeding.
- Wash your hands with water and soap.
- Choose an area of your skin where the patch will be applied. Check with your doctor or the product instruction for help picking out a site. In some cases, site rotation is recommended. Ensure that the chosen site is clean and free of any oils, powders or lotions.
- Open the package carefully. If the patch appears damaged or different in any way, do not use it.
- Carefully remove the outer protective liner without touching the adhesive side.
- Place the patch with the adhesive side facing down on your chosen skin site.
- Carefully go around the edges of the patch so that it remains flat against your skin with no bumps or folds.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
Precautions To Be Taken while using A Transdermal Patch
As seen above, it is very easy to apply a transdermal patch. When it is time to remove your patch, remember to peel it off carefully and fold the patch in half so that it remains sealed shut. Always discard used patches immediately. Patches have to be kept out of reach of kids or pets to prevent accidental medication. In case you use patches regularly, medical professionals recommend changing the site occasionally. This will help improve drug absorption in the long run.
If a patch appears damaged or split open somehow, it is always recommended to discard them immediately. These patches are designed to allow the drug to be administered gradually to your skin, from where it passes through different epidermal layers until it reaches the bloodstream. A damaged patch will unintentionally release the drug faster, which will cause your body to absorb more than the required dosage which can lead to health complications. This is also why patches need to be kept out of reach of children. If they come in contact with a patch, it will lead to serious health complications and may even cause death in extreme cases. As per the recommended rules and regulations, it is advisable to keep all kinds of medication in a cabinet that is out of reach of children or pets. It is a good idea to use a cabinet with a lock so that no untoward accidents take place.
Why People Prefer A Transdermal Patch?
Side effects of drugs have been a constant problem for people all over the world. Many medicines that are administered orally result in gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea, nausea, acidity and so on. This causes the patient to suffer and thereby they are less enthusiastic about starting medication. Fortunately, switching to transdermal patches helps reduce these side effects drastically. In fact, Fentanyl transdermal patches are often prescribed to patients who are sensitive to traditional pain medication. Another interesting fact about transdermal patches is that it is not influenced by whether the patient has consumed food or not. The use of transdermal patches also plays a great role in reducing the damage caused to the liver by the side effects of taking medication orally.
Any drug that is administered orally needs to be able to reach the gastrointestinal tract. However, in some cases, only a small substance of the drug reaches the gastrointestinal tract, rendering it useless for the patient. This is why pharmaceutical companies across the world have been trying their best to improve the bioavailability of medication.
Interestingly, with the advent of transdermal patches, this is no longer necessary. Even if the medicine does not have bioavailability when administered orally, it can still reach the bloodstream when applied via a transdermal patch. The patch ensures that the drug reaches the bloodstream after passing through the different skin layers. This is an elegant solution to administering drugs that score low on oral bioavailability.
Since using a transdermal patch increases the amount of drug that actually reaches the bloodstream, it has made it possible to lower doses drastically. For example, while using a patch for treating symptoms related to menopause only 0.025 to 0.05mg of estradiol is required in place of the 2mg tablet that needs to be taken orally. The patch has helped reduce the drug intake to 0.4 to 0.8% of the oral dose.
Transdermal patches: The Future of Medication Delivery
With technology advancements in every field, it is not surprising to see how much the transdermal therapeutic system can change the way humans look at medication. Giving oral medication to people who do not like to swallow pills or capsules has always been an issue faced by medical professionals across the world. With transdermal patches, this has become a thing of the past. It has also made it easier for parents with young kids to administer medication without loud bouts of crying and screaming.
In fact, another sector of the human population that has benefited greatly from the Transdermal therapeutic system is the senior citizens. As people age, they often find it difficult to take their medication on time. By using the Transdermal therapeutic system, this issue can be brought under control. You can find patches that last from twenty-four hours to seven days. Rather than taking oral medication three times a day, the aging population can rely on the transdermal patches, which will deliver the required medication to their bloodstream systematically. This is extremely useful in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and so on.
It won’t be surprising to see the Transdermal therapeutic system become more popular than oral medications in the near future.