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)

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