Perils of patches underappreciated, says LA Times

Patients and healthcare professionals alike overestimate the safety of drug patches, according to a report in today's LA Times.

Pain patches containing fentanyl, including Ortho-McNeil's Duragesic, have caused overdoses, prompting the FDA to order a black box warning in 2005 that the patches should be prescribed at the lowest dose possible and not for short-term pain or post-operative pain. But other transdermal patches have also come in for questioning, including the Ortho Evra birth control patch, which may increase risk of blood clots due to its higher-than-usual estrogen boost, and Daytrana for ADD, which has caused skin irritation in some users.

One issue common to patches, the article notes, is that while delivering a drug more steadily, they can also ultimately deliver more of it. Another is that because heat affects the rate of absorption, sunbathing or a hot shower could cause overdose. Moreover, skin thickness varies from patient to patient, and thicker skins may mean lower uptake.

Kenneth Sloan, a medicinal chemist at the University of Florida who has researched absorption from patches, told the paper: “Patches are not innocuous. One patch does not fit all.” 
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Channel

 

Did you miss January's Top 40 Healthcare Transformers issue? Read how these inventors, strategists, entrepreneurs and wonks are challenging, disrupting and otherwise transforming the healthcare business. And join us April 30 to honor them at the Transforming Healthcare Dinner. Click here.