Viagra patch gets lift from nanotech

Nanotech fosters another big medical breakthrough: a Viagra patch. The high-tech drug delivery system promises faster acting, longer-lasting doses.

Nicoderm patch with blue smiley face
Transdermal patch + Viagra = :-) Wikimedia Commons user RegBarc

The little blue pill is getting a high-tech makeover, thanks to Egyptian researchers who used a dose of nanotechnology to address some of Viagra's shortcomings. The result: a transdermal patch for Viagra.

A Viagra patch offers a couple of distinct advantages over the little blue pill: the patch-delivered drug gets into your system faster and more of it is absorbed, making it longer-lasting. This conveniently addresses a pair of common complaints about Viagra: it's not always ready when you are, and it sometimes fades prematurely.

The Alexandria University pharmaceutical researchers overcame hurdles that have previously kept researchers from putting Viagra in a patch. Viagra, aka sildenafil citrate, doesn't mix well with other substances, which means it's difficult to package in a patch. It also doesn't pass through membranes very well, which means it doesn't go through your skin easily. The solution was to package the drug in a nanoemulsion of microscopic droplets many times smaller than a bacterium.

"Nanoemulsion elaborated could significantly enhance transdermal permeation of SC with higher initial permeation and prolonged release," the researchers reported in a paper in the International Journal of Nanotechnology

Of course, it's a lot harder to hide a patch than the fact that you took a pill. If your ego depends on your partner not knowing, this could make for a difficult choice: faster, longer performance or stealth? If a little blue patch comes on the market, I bet it won't be long before someone comes out with a sticker to disguise the Viagra patch as as a nicotine patch.

It's been a good week for guys who are disappointed with Viagra. The FDA has just approved the Viberect male vibrator.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)

Tags:
Gadgets
About the author

    Crave freelancer Eric Smalley has written about technology for more than two decades. His freelance credits include Discover, Scientific American, and Wired News. He edits Technology Research News, where he gets to preview the cool technology we'll all be using 10 years from now. Eric is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Eric.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Find Your Tech Type

    Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!