A Look at Transdermal Patches for Students of Pharmaceutical Quality ControlJuly 25, 2017
Professionals working in pharmaceutical quality control play an important role testing and regulating drugs as they are manufactured for market. There are many different types of drugs and medications that come in a wide variety of forms. From tablets, liquids, and gels, to vials for injections and transdermal patches, each method of delivery has its own testing needs and standards.
If you’re considering a career in pharmaceutical quality control, here’s a quick introduction to transdermal patches.
Pros with Pharmaceutical Quality Control Careers Know How Transdermal Patches Work
Transdermal patches are a vehicle for delivering medication through an adhesive patch placed on the skin. The patch has a small reservoir containing the drug or medication, which is blocked by a membrane that controls the release of the drug to the skin. The entire process is activated by the individual’s body heat.
Transdermal patches are adhered to the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. Heat from the epidermis causes the patch to begin to slowly release the medication, which is then absorbed by the next two layers of skin, the dermis and hypodermis. Small blood vessels present in the hypodermis through to the epidermis are responsible for absorbing the medication into the bloodstream.
The Benefits of Transdermal Patches Explained for Future Pharmaceutical Quality Control Pros
There are many different ways medications can be taken. Oral pills are a common method for administering a prescription, as well as liquid medications, topical creams, and intravenous gels and liquids. Transdermal patches offer a way to administer a medication in a non-invasive way, which is a good option for individuals who have a fear of needles.
Professionals with quality assurance in pharmaceutical careers will tell you that another benefit of transdermal patches is that they allow for a continuous and steady absorption of the drug. Drugs that are taken orally in large dosages or intravenously periodically can cause the amount of medication in the bloodstream to fluctuate. Depending on the medication being dispensed, this can be far from optimal, so patches offer a convenient way to prevent dramatic changes to the amount of medication present in the body. In addition, transdermal patches can be worn for multiple days to several weeks while still being effective, which is much more convenient than remembering to take multiple pills a day.
Common Medications Distributed Using Transdermal Patches
As you may learn once you begin working in pharmaceutical quality control, there are many types of medications that are dispersed using transdermal patches. One of the most popular uses of the patch is delivering nicotine. When trying to quit smoking, individuals will use a transdermal patch that releases a low amount of nicotine in order to suppress cravings. The patch is effective because it maintains a steady delivery of the drug, avoiding a drop in nicotine levels which could cause a craving for cigarettes.
In addition to nicotine, transdermal patches are also commonly used as a method for distributing hormones. Contraceptive patches are a common alternative to oral contraceptives, and estrogen patches are used to treat symptoms of menopause and as hormone therapy for transgender women. To treat severe pain, transdermal patches containing fentanyl CII are also sometimes used to provide a steady stream of pain relief.
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