The Future of Transdermal Patches

Transdermal Patches make receiving medication easy as the drugs are released directly into the skin. Transdermal drug delivery offers its consumers an effective and convenient way to find relief from chronic pain as opposed to conventional methods of pain relief which include messy analgesics or use of intravenous injections. Transdermal patches are at present taking over the market as compared to other methods of pain relief owing to their advancements in managing chronic pain and are hence, registering a strong annual growth rate.

Advanced Pain Management 

At a recent meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a dermal patch was introduced with an embedded microchip that delivers weeks of continuous therapy. Physical methods such as the iontophoresis are being used where the drug gets dissolved in an electrolyte solution and is sent through the skin. Thus, making the release of the drugs even faster. Another area of advancement is addition of ethanol or propylene glycol to drugs to enhance solubility. Potential is being seen in transdermal drug delivery applications for site specific areas. These could include wound care, monitoring, and diagnostic methods. The development of drugs reaching in these areas plays an important role in providing pain to targeted points. In fact, Transdermal patches for site-specific delivery systems are set to grow at an average annual growth rate of 26.5 per cent.

These site-specific delivery systems and other methods include:

  • Computerized microchip delivery systems
  • Protein and peptide therapeutics
  • Nanotechnology and BioMEMS
  • Cancer therapies
  • Pain therapies

Strong Market Potential

Transdermal patches are slowly taking over the market through preferred modes of pain relief such as oral drug delivery and the inhalation method; as almost three-quarters of all emerging hormone replacement products are now transdermal patches. Transdermal patches are registering strong annual growth rate of 25% in the $2.2bn drug delivery market. It is significantly higher than oral drug delivery (2%) and the inhalation market (20%). Furthermore, according to Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News (September 9th, 2011) Transdermal drugs are expected to account for more than 12% of the global drug. With such a strong hold in the market, there is more and more research being done to improve and increase transdermal products. Transdermal drug delivery has become an important contributor towards pain relief, as an alternative to oral delivery and hypodermic injections. In fact, the annual U.S. market for transdermal patches is estimated at more than $3 billion. Whereas, the transdermal delivery market was valued at $21.5 billion in 2010, it is predicted to reach $31.5 billion by 2015.


Transdermal patches have come a long way since inception. The future of transdermal patches is set to further develop through pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and drug delivery companies. The patches have played an important role in managing pain because of their ease and convenience for users. With all the research being put into developing Transdermal Patches, they may be amongst the front runners in contributing huge results and benefits towards the drug delivery market in the years to come.