iontophoresis. The Future is Now.

Roommate Kevin went to some physical therapy this week for his back and got fitted with one of the coolest medicinal devices I’ve seen.

Kevin had this patch applied to his back. The patch has two sides: a positive and a negative.

Kevin’s Patch

Kevin’s Patch, close-up.

On the negative side, you’ve got some negatively charged sodium chloride and on the positive side you’ve got a polar, hydrophilic drug. This is, in essence, a battery. The negative side tries to scoot over to the positive side. At the same time, you’ve got the positive drug wanting to seep into the patient’s negatively charged skin.

My MSPaint (props to Viv for some guidance)

Apparently a more primitive application of this occurs in normal drug patches. Nicotine patches for example have a positive charge to attract them to the skin, but they don’t have the negative side of the battery present. This means that the drug just seeps into the skin. This system is not as advanced because you can’t control the rate at which the drug is administered to the patient. It just kinda seeps in at an inconsistent rate.

With the battery setup, you can control the flow from the negative side to the positive side and thus create an even administration of drug to the patient.


6 thoughts on “iontophoresis. The Future is Now.

  • 9/3/2009 at 2:37 pm

    Why is the skin blue? Is this for use only on Smurfs?

  • 9/3/2009 at 2:38 pm

    I thought a light blue looked kinda neat.

    Also, I had already established blue as my ‘negative’ color and I wanted to stress that skin is negatively charged. I suppose I could have just changed my color scheme, but I’m lazy.

  • 9/3/2009 at 6:28 pm

    Perhaps this patch is one specially developed for blue whales, blue-footed boobies, or the blue poison arrow frog!

  • 9/3/2009 at 10:28 pm

    I agree with Ryan! (The first one!)

  • 9/4/2009 at 10:45 am

    Actually the patch has a battery already in it, you put the salt water on the positive side, and the medicine on the negative side. When the patch is applied, your tissue it the medium to complete the circuit.
    If you look closely at the close-up you can see a dumbell shape between the two sides. That’s the battery.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *