What is a Transdermal Patch? What is a Topical Patch?

What is a transdermal patch?

A transdermal patch delivers drugs non-invasively from the surface of skin to the circulatory system (this is Transdermal Drug Delivery System – TDDS).    A transdermal patch is a medicated patch that is placed on the skin to deliver a specific dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.

A transdermal patch contains an FDA-approved drug.   This drug will have gone through an extensive process to become approved, including millions of dollars in testing, trials and approvals.   Please see the FDA’s slideshow explaining the proper use of “drug” in the context of OTC (over-the-counter) drugs here.

What is a topical patch?

A topical patch is a patch that is intended only to have topical benefits.   These patches can be OTC drugs such as menthol or patches containing GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredients like vitamins or herbs.  Non-drug patches are only permitted (per FDA and CDPH regulations) to make cosmetic claims.   This is vitally important when considering how to label and market your patch.

What are the advantages of transdermal drug delivery?

An advantage of a transdermal drug delivery route over other types of medication delivery such as oral, topical, intravenous, intramuscular, etc. is that the patch provides a controlled absorption, more uniform plasma levels, improved bioavailability, reduced side effects, painless and simple application and flexibility of terminating drug administration by simply removing the patch from the skin.

Another advantage is convenience, especially notable in patches that require only once weekly application. Such a simple dosing regimen can aid in patient adherence to drug therapy. Designing and development of transdermal patches can be described as state of the art.

Basic Components Of TDDS

  • Polymer matrix / Drug reservoir
  • Drug (see above:  Only drugs can use the word “transdermal”)
  • Permeation enhancers
  • Backing laminates
  • Release liner
  • Other excipients like plasticizers and solvents

Quality Materials Matter

American Custom Technologies manufactures both OTC drug patches and topical patches.  We do not manufacture prescription drug patches.

We use the same quality materials and manufacturing procedures when we produce a topical patch as when we manufacture a transdermal patch.