The first transdermal drug patch was marketed in 1979 and the most notable include the narcotic pain reliever fentanyl and the drug scopolamine for motion sickness. Since then, a wide variety of drugs have been developed to deliver medication effectively via transfer through the skin.
I’ve posted two blogs over the last couple of years here and here explaining the good and bad aspects of such therapy methods. In the first of those blogs, I imagined how a delicious murder plot could be developed by substituting poisons for the prescription drugs within the transdermal patch material.
I sort of forgot about those blogs until a couple of days ago when my wife forwarded an article to me regarding the use of vitamin cocktail supplements via transdermal technology. You can read the full article here; but it stated that in recent years the boom of the wellness industry for better fitness, beauty and increased mental and physical energy have included vitamin patches. I had no idea such things were available!
I was skeptical of the effectiveness of such “supplement therapy” since vitamin supplements are not regulated by the FDA and are considered drugs when medicinal and curative claims are made. It seems that the FDA has similar skepticisms since many of the companies marketing such products are claiming specific therapeutic effects that would tip these products into the drug category.
The article also indicates that the FDA considers vitamins as “dietary supplements” and that such supplements are intended for oral ingestion. Therefore, the FDA appears to be taking the stance that transdermal patch products cannot be labeled as supplements and, therefore, the FDA considers the marketing of such supplements to be health fraud.
“Health fraud” is the FDA’s way of stating that a product is actually an unapproved new drug and cannot continue to be marketed until the manufacturer completes the new drug approval process—a long and expensive series of procedures and testing to protect the public from fraudulent drug distribution.
The article does state that there are some clinical studies that indicate certain vitamin therapies, such as a vitamin D transdermal delivery system, may well be effective. The clinical evidence for other vitamin supplements, however, seems to be minimal and as yet unproven.
What this article made me realize once again was that transdermal patches can be the focus of a splendid idea for a murder mystery plot by injecting poisons into these prescription drug patches—and now made easier by these more readily-available vitamin patches.
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!