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Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2011 Jul;8(7):939-48. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2011.574689. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Skin tolerability of transdermal patches.

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Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Ernst-Kromayer-Str. 5, D 06097 Halle (Saale), Germany.



Transdermal patch systems are an effective method of administering active ingredients through the skin, with considerable advantages over other drug delivery routes, for example, maintenance of constant plasma drug levels and avoidance of first-pass metabolism. However, repeated epicutaneous application may be associated with local skin reactions.


This review addresses current issues regarding the effective/safe use of transdermal patch systems, and provides a critical analysis of the addition of 'skin-caring' ingredients to patch systems. Effective use of transdermal systems includes choosing an appropriate body area for application, maintaining regular skin care regimens before application and not replacing a patch in the same area (rotation) within 7 days. Another strategy, developed in an attempt to improve the tolerability of transdermal systems, is the addition of assumed 'skin-caring' ingredients (e.g., Aloe Vera) to patch systems. However, at present there is neither proof nor clinical evidence of any benefit. On the contrary, plant-derived ingredients might be associated with allergenic potential.


Transdermal systems are generally well tolerated; physicians must adequately inform patients of the most effective ways to use these formulations for maximum therapeutic benefit, while minimising local adverse events. Skin-caring agents, including Aloe Vera, cannot be recommended until well-controlled clinical trials with standardised extracts are available.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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