Appropriate use of transdermal drug delivery systems

Peter J. Hughes, Maisha K. Freeman, Terri M. Wensel


Background: Depending on the therapeutic target, transdermal drug delivery systems (TDDS) are designed to provide a continuous supply of drug through the skin to allow for local or systemic drug effects. The purpose of this descriptive review is to introduce practical theories behind TDDS for nurses. Additionally, the authors will compare and contrast different transdermal patch delivery systems and offer recommendations for appropriate use and administration of prescription products with an emphasis on nursing care.

Findings: A total of 18 individual or fixed combination active ingriedient prescription transdermal formulations are available for use in the United States. Appropriate use and disposal of TDDS are dictated by the active ingredient, patch type and several patient-specific characteristics such as age, gender, skin integrity and organ function.

Conclusions: Transdermal systems are convenient and therapeutically beneficial for select patient types. Appropriate application, disposal and monitoring techniques can optimize care for patients, caregivers and the general public.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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