IIT Hyderabad develops novel skin patch for constant drug release

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have developed a novel drug-delivery system that releases a commonly used pain killer (diclofenac sodium) at the target site in a controlled fashion such that there is constant release of the drug for as long as 12 hours. The drug has low half-life of one–two hours and so constant release for up to 12 hours becomes particularly significant.

In normal circumstances, the drug gets metabolised very quickly, thereby requiring frequent dosing to maintain the desired therapeutic levels. The fluctuation of the drug plasma level is one reason why the medicine cases adverse effects.

To prevent burst or quick release of the drug, a team led by Mudrika Khandelwal from the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering at IIT Hyderabad fabricated a transdermal patch containing the drug and made the patch highly hydrophobic (water repelling). The high hydrophobicity of the patch ensures that the highly water-soluble drug is released in a slow and sustained fashion. The results were published in the journal Applied Surface Science.

Tuning the patch

What makes the transdermal patch particularly significant is the freedom to increase the amount of drug present in the patch so that the drug is constantly released at a therapeutically desirable dosage for a longer duration.

The patch was prepared by mixing the drug with cellulose…

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