We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Medications in Patch Form?

By Susan Abe
Updated Feb 12, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Medications are administered in multiple ways, utilizing every bodily orifice and further, by establishing temporary routes by intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) and subcutaneous (SQ) means. The chemical qualities of individual medications — such as solubility, acidity, metabolism and other factors — often limit the means by which they can be safely administered. After years of research, pharmacology companies began to market a number of different types of medications in patch form in the early years of the 21st century. High blood pressure, pain, anti-nausea and contraceptive medications can all be administered through the skin or dermis. Advantages of medications in patch form include less frequent administration, more consistently even levels of therapeutic drug amounts and less complicated drug regimens; disadvantages to medications in patch form include dermatologic side effects, special skin preparation before application and care of the patch after application.

Administration of medications in patch form takes place every one to three days, as opposed to many drugs requiring that many dosages per day, thus providing a significant advantage in terms of time and personnel needed for medication administration. Patch medications can also be utilized without complications in patients who are unable to take medications orally or who require medication to either be crushed or in liquid form. The use of anti-nausea medications in patch form is particularly appropriate as many patients are unable to tolerate any medication in their stomachs without vomiting. Patch medications are also helpful with patients for whom maintenance of an intravenous line would be difficult, such as chronically ill or elderly patients who wish to continue medical care in their home environments. Pain medications in patch form are also appropriate and safely administered to hospice patients whose appetites have passed and whose periods of consciousness are brief.

There are some disadvantages of medications in patch form. Some individuals can develop an allergic contact dermatitis at the site of the patch administration, either from the medication itself or from components of the skin adherence system. Either the patient or a responsible party must ensure that the patch is administered on the correct schedule and that the older patch is removed and disposed of properly. Prior to applying the patch to a chosen skin site, the area should be washed and dried gently to remove natural oils that might decrease the adherence of the patch and administration of the intended dose of medication while after removal of a used patch, the area should also be washed and dried gently to remove any remaining medication or patch glue. Areas with a great deal of body hair or perspiration, or those which are adjacent to heat sources — such as heating pads — should be avoided when applying medication patches.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.