Transdermal therapeutic systems

What are transdermal therapeutic systems?
Transdermal therapeutic systems (TTS) are medicated adhesive films that can be applied to the skin and remain there for a period of 1 to 7 days. During this time, the TTS ensure a constant release of the drug into the bloodstream through the skin. Transdermal therapeutic systems are a parenteral form of administration, as they work without entering the gastro-intestinal tract, thereby avoiding the first-pass effect. Colloquially these systems are also known as “medical patches”. TTS for smoking withdrawal (nicotine patches) and for pain reduction are two examples.

Locally acting dermal systems
Locally acting dermal systems are patches that are designed in such a way that the medication remains in the skin and cannot enter the bloodstream. They remain effective for 12 - 24 hours. These systems are a topical form of administration. Pain patches that are applied shortly before injections are a good example of this.

Orally disintegrating films (ODF)
Orally disintegrating films (ODF) are bio-adhesive films that quickly dissolve on the tongue or in the mouth, releasing the drug into the mouth. The drug takes effect more quickly as a result. ODF are used for colds, for vitamin substitution or in emergency situations.

History of TTS

Transdermal systems have been documented as far back as ancient Egypt (approx. 2,000 BC). At that time, they consisted of compresses saturated with substances and were intended to treat occlusive conditions. This enabled the substance to penetrate well through the skin. Transdermal systems have been enjoying a renaissance since around 1980. This still relatively new dosage form is a parenteral administration and is popular due to the simple multi-day treatment it provides. This makes it particularly well-suited to treatment of geriatric patients. Many medications have not yet been tested in terms of suitability for transdermal delivery.

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