Cutaneous Reactions to Transdermal Therapeutic Systems

Andrea L. Musel; Erin M. Warshaw


Dermatitis. 2006;17(3):109-122. 

In This Article

Types of Transdermal Therapeutic Systems

Transdermal therapeutic systems (TTSs), commonly called "patches," generally consist of three parts: an adhesive, an active pharmaceutical drug, and enhancing agents. A number of types of TTS are currently available; these include reservoir, matrix, and local-action transcutaneous patches, all of which are discussed in this article. Reservoir TTSs have a depot where liquid containing the active ingredient is stored for release through a rate-controlling membrane (Fig 1). In a matrix TTS, a mixture of the active ingredient, an adhesive, and other components is contained in a single layer that is directly adjacent to the skin; a rate-controlling membrane is not necessary (Fig 2). A local-action transcutaneous (LAT) patch is used to deliver nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) through the skin. It is similar to a matrix TTS, except that it includes a nonwoven polyester backing that supports an NSAID formulation.[2]

Cross section of a reservoir transdermal therapeutic system.

Cross section of a matrix transdermal therapeutic system (TTS). The matrix TTS film backing is a plastic derivative; the local-action transcutaneous TTS film backing is a nonwoven polyester.

Drugs commonly delivered through TTSs include testosterone, estradiol, scopolamine, clonidine, nicotine, nitroglycerin, fentanyl, lidocaine, and birth control preparations.[3]


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