About Time-Release Patches
If you've never used a transdermal patch before, you probably have questions. How does a transdermal patch work? What types of patches there are? Also, what benefits do time-release patches have over other types of supplements? Let’s talk about patches so you can understand why we have the best supplement technology on the market.
Types of Transdermal Patch
There are currently 5 types of transdermal patches.
- Single-layer Drug-in-Adhesive - The adhesive layer of this system also contains the drug. In this type of patch, the adhesive layer sticks the various layers to each other and the skin. In addition, it releases the drug. A temporary liner and a backing surround the adhesive layer.
- Multi-layer Drug-in-Adhesive - The multi-layer drug-in-adhesive patch is similar to the single-layer system. However, it adds another layer of drug-in-adhesive, usually separated by a membrane. This patch also has a temporary liner-layer and a permanent backing.
- Reservoir - Unlike the Single-layer and Multi-layer Drug-in-adhesive systems, the reservoir transdermal system has a separate drug layer. The drug layer is a liquid compartment containing a drug solution or suspension separated by the adhesive layer. This patch also has a backing layer.
- Matrix - The Matrix system has a drug layer of a semisolid matrix containing a drug solution or suspension. The adhesive layer in this patch surrounds the drug layer, partially overlaying it.
- Vapor Patch - In this type of patch, the adhesive layer not only sticks the various layers together but also releases vapor. The vapor patches are new on the market, and they release essential oils for up to 6 hours. The vapor patches are used for decongestion, improving sleep quality, and reducing the number of cigarettes one smokes.
The Downsides of Pills, Capsules, Powders, and Other Oral Supplements
For oral supplements to work effectively, they must pass through and survive:
The extreme pH changes in the stomach as well as the small and large intestine
The billions of bacteria that guard your intestines
The gut immune barrier, which constitutes a "first line of defense" against intruders
As you can imagine, it’s quite difficult to formulate an oral supplement that can effectively survive this onslaught. How much of the original active ingredient do you think actually makes it into your bloodstream? Results vary depending on the type of supplement. However, the corresponding "loss" of active ingredients can range from a few percent (as in caffeine) to levels of 90% or more for resveratrol. Only small amounts of an oral resveratrol supplement made it into the bloodstream of healthy volunteers in a 2004 study.
Basically, you’re paying good money for oral supplements that are largely destroyed by stomach acid, filtered out by your liver, or urinated out. Why bother with oral supplements that lose so much of their effectiveness?
The Benefits of a Transdermal Patch
With a transdermal patch, the active ingredient bypasses your digestive system your bloodstream absorbs it. For some supplements, like resveratrol and curcumin, transdermal patches are the only effective alternative to injections. For other supplements, increased potency may result in decreased side effects. That's because metabolic side effects can be produced when the gut or liver are forced to absorb oral supplements. Other benefits of using a transdermal patch instead of taking oral supplements or injections include:
Controlled delivery over a prolonged amount of time
Reduced peaks and troughs in blood-drug amounts
Easier to use
Targeted use – patches can be placed on or near affected sites instead of a medication traveling through the entire body
If you have a negative reaction, removing the patch can reduce symptoms more quickly than waiting for your body to process an oral supplement
Painless and convenient
Great for people who have a difficult time swallowing pills
How and Where to Apply a Transdermal Patch
How to use patches – Carefully follow the directions of each transdermal patch product. Each product may have different guidelines about how long to leave patches on, how frequently to change them, and whether you should spend time in between patches. Always make sure the skin is clean and dry before applying a patch.
Best Locations To Apply Patches – The best locations to apply patches are where there are large concentrations of small blood vessels under the top skin (dermal) layers. The following illustration should be used as a general guide:
Transdermal Patch Construction
- Liner - Protects the patch during storage. The liner is removed prior to use.
- Formula – Supplement or medication in direct contact with release liner
- Adhesive - Serves to adhere the components of the patch together along with adhering the patch to the skin
- Membrane - Controls the release of the medication or supplement from the reservoir and multi-layer patches
- Backing - Protects the patch from the outer environment