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'Breakthrough' pain-killing patches with ibuprofen have been developed

A photo of the new pain-killing patch
A photo of the new pain-killing patch

University researchers have helped to devise and patent a "breakthrough" pain-killing patch delivering effective doses of ibuprofen directly through the skin.

The transparent adhesive patch, developed by a partnership between the University of Warwick and Coventry-based spin-out company Medherant, could pave the way for other "long-acting" treatments for back pain and arthritis.

Billed as a world first, the technology contained in the patch is able to deliver a prolonged high dose of ibuprofen at a consistent rate by incorporating the drug into a sticky polymer matrix.

University of Warwick research chemist Professor David Haddleton said: "Many commercial patches surprisingly don't contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect.

"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."

The CEO of Medherant, Nigel Davis, believes the patches could lead to economic benefits for the healthcare system by delivering drugs more efficiently.

"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," he said.