FAQ Prescription Pain Patches
When are pain patches used?
Pain accompanies injury, and reduces the quality of life for patients. This is particularly important for patients who suffer from chronic and painful conditions, such as back pain and arthritis. Acute injuries and fatigue can also cause soreness and tenderness of soft tissues of the joint, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Typically, analgesic drugs are delivered by the oral route. A common example of this are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, which is taken as a pill. However, not all patients will be able to tolerate NSAIDs, because of the associated side effects, such as gastritis (stomach irritation). In addition, pain medications taken by mouth may interact negatively with other medications being taken, such as those for high blood pressure, blood thinners, diabetes, etc.
There is also a limit to the amount of NSAIDs a patient can take before causing renal (kidney) damage. The use of transdermal analgesics, or pain relief patches, has been developed to relieve pain that can range from mild, to severe, depending on the active ingredient.
What are the types of pain patches?
There are numerous brands of pain relief patches that are offered, but these can be generally classified by the active ingredients that they use. The active ingredients that are typically used in pain patches are the following:
- Counter-irritants – examples of counter-irritant patches are Salonpas, Aleveer, MedRox, Excedrin Cooling Pads, and Icy Hot Patches. These patches contain active ingredients that afford relief from mild pains by distracting the sensation pathways with other stimuli. Active ingredients like capscaicin cause a warming or heating sensation, while camphor and menthol provide a cooling sensation. These active ingredients stimulate nerve endings into “feeling” the sensations of heat and cooling, thereby reducing the brain’s perception of pain sensations from the same area. These counter-irritant patches are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild to moderate pain from soft tissue injury (e.g., sprains), arthritis, and lower back pain. It should be noted that counter-irritant patches should only be used for symptomatic relief of pain, and are not a substitute for rest and/or therapy.
- Local anesthetics – pain relief patches such as Lidoderm include a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, as their active ingredient. Local anesthetics interfere with the transmission of pain signals, blocking the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. This causes the nerves to “numb”, thereby providing relief from pain symptoms. Transdermal analgesics that make use of local anesthetics provide quick relief once applied. It should be noted that local anesthetics interfere with not only pain sensation, but also prevent the sensation of heat as well. These patches can be used for sunburns, poison ivy irritation, and other mild conditions.
What are the things to keep in mind when using pain patches?
- Always read and follow the instructions in the product insert – it is important to carefully follow the instructions written in the product insert. Pain relief patches will all have their own dosing, frequency, and the patient must be made aware of the proper use of pain patches. The possibility of an overdose still exists with the use of pain patches that have medications as their active ingredient. Overdose with lidocaine patches can cause arrhythmias (irregular heart beats). Most counter-irritant pain patches are sold over-the-counter, and can be well tolerated by patients.
- Pain relief patches should never be applied to dry or wounded skin – the application of pain patches to areas with breaks in the skin, or open wounds. Active ingredients and substances from pain patches can be painful, or can interfere with the normal healing process, when applied to breaks in the skin.
- Make sure that the patient has no allergies to active ingredients in the pain patch – if there is prior history of the patient presenting with allergic reaction to any of the active ingredients in the pain patch, or to the adhesive or material used in the patch, then its use should be avoided. This could possibly cause an allergic reaction, which can aggravate the condition of the patient.
- Avoid using pain patches at the same time as heating pads – pain patches such as lidocaine can interfere with the body’s ability to detect heat, as well as pain. The use of heating pads in areas numbed by pain patches can cause burns if excess heat is undetected.
- Avoid using pain patches if there is an active infection of the skin – the presence of active infection can interfere with the absorption of the active ingredient because of changes in the local milieu. This reduces the effectiveness of the pain cream, negating its benefits.
- Wash hands thoroughly after applying the pain patch – the active ingredients in counter-irritant pain patches can cause pain and irritation if they get into the eye. It is therefore advised to wash hands carefully after applying the patch, in order to avoid getting foreign irritants into the eyes.
Superior Medical Solutions offers prescription pain patches for both patients and providers. Telemedicine consultations are provided, so patients don’t even have to leave the house! The patches are shipped directly to your home.
The prescription pain patches do not include controlled substances and include such options as Menthol, Lidocaine and Capsaicin, and are very effective!
Call (888) 885-2929 today!
 Higashi Y, Kiuchi T, Furuta K (Jan 2010). “Efficacy and safety profile of a topical methyl salicylate and menthol patch in adult patients with mild to moderate muscle strain: a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, multicenter study”. Clin Ther 32 (1): 34–43. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2010.01.016. PMID 20171409