Transdermal Patches for the Treatment of Neurologic Conditions in Elderly Patients: A Review

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Objective: The mode of drug delivery can be an important consideration in optimizing drug therapy, as it can affect treatment compliance and outcomes. It is particularly important to develop optimal drug formulations for chronic diseases or conditions in the elderly for which treatment compliance is known to be low. In this review, the features and benefits of transdermal formulations for treating neurologic conditions in elderly patients are described.

Data Sources: English-language articles were identified by searching MEDLINE in November 2010 (there were no search parameters on date of publication) using the search terms transdermal patch, transdermal system, neurology, rivastigmine, rotigotine, selegiline, lidocaine, capsaicin, compliance, and neuropathic pain.

Data Selection: Articles describing the development, use, efficacy, and safety of licensed transdermal patch treatments for neurologic conditions that affect the elderly were included.

Data Extraction: The features of transdermal systems and comparisons between transdermal and oral formulations for the treatment of specific neurologic conditions in elderly patients were reviewed.

Data Synthesis: There are 5 transdermal patch systems currently available for neurologic conditions in adults: rivastigmine, rotigotine, selegiline, lidocaine, and capsaicin. These are all modern formulations in matrix patches, developed to provide appropriate drug dosage in an acceptable and well-tolerated form.

Conclusions: Transdermal patches can offer benefits to patients over oral formulations in terms of ease of use, simple treatment regimens, avoidance of the first-pass effect, and avoidance of high maximum plasma concentrations with rapid changes in drug levels, without the invasive procedures associated with intravenous treatment.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.11r01149

Submitted: January 25, 2011; accepted May 18, 2011.

Published online: December 08, 2011.

Corresponding author: Martin R. Farlow, MD, Department of Neurology, Clinical Bldg, Room 291, 541 Clinical Dr, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.11r01149