The World's First Ibuprofen Patch Is a Breakthrough in Pain Relief


A team of researchers from the University of Warwick have created the painkiller equivalent of a temporary tattoo. Rejoice! Your hangover might get significantly easier to manage.

The British researchers announced the development of the device, which they describe as "a transparent adhesive patch that can consistently deliver a prolonged high dose of the painkiller ibuprofen directly through the skin," on Tuesday.

"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," David Haddleton, a research chemist and professor at the University of Warwick, said in a press release

University of Warwick

The key is in the patch's adhesive, which can hold a large amount of the drug — up to 30% of the patch's weight. According to researchers, this drug load is five to 10 times more than the drug loads in gels and other medical patches. While oral versions of the drug, like Advil, can also yield relief, there are dangers associated with overdoses; the patch, researchers will say, releases a steady dose of the drug over the course of 12 hours.

The design of the patch is such that it will remain attached "over its time of action, but easy and comfortable to remove." It can be used to treat chronic pain, neuralgia and arthritis, and researchers said it won't leave any residue when removed. 

"Our first products will be over-the-counter pain relief patches and through partnering we would expect to have the first of those products on the market in around two years," Nigel Davis, CEO of Medherant, the university's commercial arm, said in the press release.

While ibuprofen is the first target, the researchers hope that the patch's technology will translate to other medications. "We believe that many other over the counter and prescription drugs can exploit our technology and we are seeking opportunities to test a much wider range of drugs and treatments within our patch," David Haddleton said.

Here's to a pain-free future.