Gone are the days of pesky IVs or trying to choke down an oversized pill. No longer will you have to remember to pack your medication for a weekend getaway or worry about unknowingly running out of a prescription.
Isis Biopolymer Inc. has you covered. Just slap on its fully programmable, non-invasive, hypo-allergenic, waterproof, “Band-Aid like” patch and you’re good-to-go for seven days, according to Michael K. Jordan, Isis’ director of product development.
He says Isis’ patented patch is similar to other transdermal patches, like those that administer hormones or nicotine, but Isis’ is much more advanced.
“(The Isis Patch) can be set specifically to a patient,” Jordan says. “It pretty much gives the doctors the ability to do specific programming to each patient to a level that they’ve never been able to do in the past.”
He says Isis’ patch is very thin — .002 of an inch thick — and made on a flexible polyester substrate. It’s different because it is an active patch, not passive. A passive patch is pre-loaded and its drug dispenses upon contact with the skin. Isis’ active patch can hold up to three different drugs and is controlled by doctors.
“It has intelligence built right in,” Jordan says.
He says the Isis Patch will especially benefit the elderly, who may forget to take their medication one day and then double up the next. Those results can be dangerous, even deadly. “It automatically doses. People are on a constant blood serum level that they need,” Jordan says.
Much like filling a prescription, several patches can be prepared at the same time, according to Jordan. After seven days, simply discard the old patch and apply a new one, if needed. “You can go about your normal routine, your normal lifestyle. There’s no interference,” he says.
According to Jordan, the patch is the first of its kind in that it is thin, flexible and wireless. Similar wireless patches, like Vyteris’ Active Transdermal System and Alza’s E-Trans, work the same, but are much thicker and encased in plastic.
“It’s very similar technology to what we are doing, but they are not flexible. It does not fit the body at all,” says Jordan.
Dr. James Cesare, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, says he has read about transdermal devices, but has never used them.
He says he does not believe patients would wear the plastic systems. “Today, we’re all about comfort and ease of use,” he says.
Cesare says he believes Isis’ patch will “revolutionize the way we deliver medicine.” “I think this is going to be something that is going to be win-win for patients, doctors and the medical industry,” he says.
The Isis Patch contains an RFID antenna and chip, which provides an electronic record of the date, time and quantity of each medication administered. It is supported by a proprietary software-based patient care management system, which allows health care professionals to safely and effectively prescribe, manage and monitor drug delivery.
Before, similar flexible, wireless patches have been one-size-fits-all and did not allow for any control over releasing medication.
The Isis Patch uses microprocessors, thin film batteries, biopolymers and polymer thick film (PTF) technology. It delivers drugs through a process called iontophoresis, a non-invasive method of propelling a high concentration of a charged substance transdermally by repulsive electromotive force. A small electrical charge is applied to an iontrophoretic chamber containing a similarly charged medication and hydrogel material. The medication ions, being particles with a positive or a negative charge, repel into the skin by an identical charge in the electrode area.
Jordan says Design Net Technical Products, an electrical engineering firm based in Smithfield, RI, worked closely with Isis Biopolymer to develop the patch.
Design Net officials did not return calls by press time. According to the company’s website, it tries “to function as a seamless extension of (its) clients’ product development departments. We do this is by using common design tools wherever possible to ensure deliverables are in a familiar data format (AutoCad, SDRC, PADS, OrCAD, etc.).”
Jordan says the patch may be more cost-effective than a prescription for pills, because medication starts in liquid form. It is under development and expected to receive FDA approval by August 2009.