Taking medicine needn’t be a pain when it’s as simple as applying a plaster.

Hate taking tablets? Terrified of injections? Then the new trend for transdermal medication, or medicines applied directly to the skin, will be right up your street. Most people will have heard of nicotine and hormone patches, but scientists have been working on getting a wider range of drugs and therapeutic substances through the skin’s normally impermeable barriers in the same way. They have discovered that everything from asthma and diabetes treatments to local anesthetics and even aphrodisiacs can be painlessly slapped onto the skin like a sticking plaster.

Normally human skin acts like a tightly woven, waterproof fabric, and until recently it was thought that only a few substances such as cosmetic creams and pain-relieving sprays could be effectively absorbed through the surface. But new discoveries show that there are ways to make the skin more permeable, so that many more substances can pass through the tissues and into the blood.

The drug patches contain a solution that hydrates the skin and widens the pores so the drug can seep through. The patches look like a Band-Aid, but have the medication sandwiched between an ultra thin pad containing this permeating substance and a protective layer.
The advantages of taking drugs this way, say some dermatologists, are indisputable. “When medicines are taken by mouth, they are attacked by digestive juices, so that only part of the treatment is absorbed,” explains Professor Peter Elsner, of the dermatology department at the University of Jena in Germany, and an expert on the use of medical patches. “From the digestive system, the drug then goes straight to the liver, where some of the chemicals it contains are partly broken down and, therefore, not absorbed. Dosages of oral medicines are sometimes deliberately high to allow for this metabolism and malabsorption. With skin patches, less of the drug is needed to have the same effect.

Alta Care Laboratoires has produced the pain killing, anti-inflammatory Flodolor Patch which is effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of pain, with a prolonged release of 24 to 36 hours. It is effective especially with patients who suffer from renal or hepatic insufficiency and consequently cannot administer anti-inflammatory non-steroid drugs. It is preventive when applied on joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments that have been inflamed in the past and useful in sports medicine in order to prevent the reacutisation of wounds, without using drugs prohibited by sports federations. The Flodolor Patch is also useful to alleviate children’s pain when tablets are contra-indicated.

A team of researchers at the University of California have been looking at ways to deliver insulin to diabetics through the skin without an injection. They have created a watch-like ultrasound device, which sends shock waves to enlarge the skin’s pores – a patch can then be stuck on the arm to administer the medicine. Another product will remove the need for finger-pricking blood tests for diabetics: it measures blood-sugar levels and changes colour when they get too low.

The transdermal trend is also hitting the high street. Do you suffer from acne, skin eruptions, period pains, bad moods? Try Alta Care’s Silvia Women Patches, they decrease the frequency and intensity of conditions caused by hormonal imbalance, it helps prolong the gynaecological life of women and prepares them to have a good and safe pregnancy. Silvia Women Patches also decreases naturally the intensity and frequency of flushes during menopause and is a perfect substitute when HRT is contra-indicated. Or, if it’s your libido that needs attention, Altasterol Patch, another product by Alta Care, is a natural aphrodisiac and stimulating patch. Slap one on your buttock every 24 hours and, in a few days, your old sex life won’t be a patch on your new one!

Women often tend to suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). This may cause feet and calves to become swollen, often accompanied by a dull ache made worse with prolonged standing…especially due to wearing heels! If CVI is allowed to progress, the skin tends to darken and ulcers may occur. CVI often leads to varicose and spider veins. Alta Care’s Venalta Patch prevents and treats tired and heavy legs whilst also improving blood circulation in patients who work for prolonged periods standing up. People who suffer from cold feet will note that after following a month course of Venalta patches the feet will actually feel warmer because of the improvement in the micro-circulation.

Whilst still treating the micro-circulation problem why not tackle also another common factor, that of cellulite. Would it not be more convenient and economical to use a patch instead of gels and creams? Many opt to avoid using such topical applications due to the time needed for these to penetrate and be absorbed in the skin as well as because these may be messy.

Altadrine Slimming patch by Alta Care is a practical, discreet and efficient treatment which acts directly on the needed parts of the body thus decreasing progressively the “orange peel” skin. The waterproof and hypo-allergenic patches can be used in different areas of the body, such as thighs, buttocks, under arms, abdomen or neck.  

Pharmacists often have problems with patients facing conditions of acute stress since it is difficult to find over the counter products to treat this condition. Doctors even have similar problems since a lot of products are full of side effects, dependence and interactions. Certain day to day, life situations can result quite stressful and individuals react differently when faced with difficulties. Emotional issues, exams, interviews, pressure at work as well as after giving birth, are moments particularly hard and can result to be quite psychologically strenuous. Alta Care Laboratoires, worked on developing a patch treatment that is indicated in acute conditions of stress and which can be used regularly or for short periods. The active ingredients are made up of Phyto extracts and essential oils that give an anti-depressive, relaxing non-sedating effect, whilst also improving micro-circulation. Alta Care’s ‘Controller Patch’ can be also used to help prevent post-natal depression and in children who are hyperactive.

Another intelligent development by Laboratoires Alta Care (Paris) has been the Neuralta Migren 101 Patch which gives comfort for various hours to persons suffering from headache, migraines and headaches by the synergic effect of the active ingredients. It is good for those who have more than two to three attacks a month as this reduces the intensity and frequency of the attack. The migraine patch works through the release of pharmacological molecules extracted from several medicinal plants. It also can be applied as prevention to headache attacks during times of stress and in conditions where one requires an improvement in the cerebral circulation. In fact Neuralta Migren 101 patch helps to improve concentration and memory and it is safely indicated during pregnancy and for children’s use.

Final is the note on Elsner’s opinion that technology won’t end there. “Dermatologists in Germany are working with textile engineers to develop special clothing materials that administer medication,” he says. “They have made the prototype for a fabric that contains the moisturizers used by sufferers of dermatitis and eczema. The idea is that it will be used to make underwear or pajamas, so that users get medication in their sleep…. The potential is huge.”





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