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New alert gives advice on the management of transdermal patches

Medicines (Reducing harm)
24 December 2013

Transdermal patches are being used more frequently as a method of administering a variety of medicines. The patches are applied to particular areas of the body and release medicine over a number of hours or days.

The area of skin recommended for application and the number of hours or days a patch is active is different for each type of patch which makes management complex.

Patches are usually applied to skin in an area where the patch will not be visible which can create problems for clinicians who may not realise that a patch has been applied. Patch application should be carefully documented so that it is clear when the patch was applied and when it is removed.

Inadvertent overdose can occur when a new patch is applied without removing the old patch. Sometimes there can be residual active medicine in the old patch. Safe disposal of removed patches is necessary for the same reason. Cases of children being harmed by applying patches that have been disposed of in rubbish bins have occurred.

Click the link below to view the alert.

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