Taking medications is bothersome to many people. Some have problems swallowing pills. Others, especially the elderly, tend toward forgetfulness and miss a dose or completely forget a medication prescribed by their doctor – which can have major adverse effects on their recovery. Another disadvantage of medications taken orally is that pills deliver the necessary active ingredient unevenly to the patient: After taking one, the patient’s blood plasma level of the active ingredient generally rises very quickly, sometimes even above the upper limit of the “therapeutic window,” only to quickly drop back down again. This means that patients sometimes receive too much, and sometimes too little, of the medication.
Maximum effectiveness – minimal side effects
Help is at hand, in the form of transdermal therapeutic systems (TTS). A TTS is a patch containing an active ingredient. Once adhered to a patient’s skin, the patch delivers the active ingredient locally or to the bloodstream. In this way, transdermal therapeutic systems are comparable to infusions, but without the use of injections or needles. Additional advantages: The “first pass effect” (in which the liver metabolizes the active ingredient and breaks it down) that is typical of pills does not apply. When administered via the skin, the active ingredient reaches the site where it is supposed to act first, and does not reach the liver until afterward. This minimizes side effects; the liver is exposed to less strain and the effectiveness of the medication within the therapeutic window is maximized. In addition, the frequency with which patients are required to take the medication can be reduced considerably, for example by using patches that last one or more days instead of taking multiple pills every day.
Tapping into profitable markets of the future
With its acquisition of Labtec Gesellschaft für technologische Forschung und Entwicklung mbH in November 2008, tesa SE took another logical next step in its strategy of tapping into highly profitable markets of the future in the industrial business. The new wholly owned tesa affiliate, a mid-sized company based in the German town of Langenfeld, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, not only specializes in research and development work for numerous pharmaceutical companies, but also in the TTS market.
The world’s first prescription-only oral film
In addition, Labtec has been working successfully for several years with Swiss partner company Applied Pharma Research on development of oral films (orally dissolvable films, or ODFs). With Ondansetron Rapidfilm®, which is indicated for treatment of nausea and vomiting that occur as side effects of radiation therapy or chemotherapy, Labtec has developed what will probably be the world’s first prescription-only oral film for the pharmaceutical industry. The licensees expect the first official approvals by the end of 2009. All other oral films that have been available thus far were over-the-counter (OTC) products. The wafer-thin film dissolves within a few seconds of contact with saliva, delivering the drug within the oral cavity and eliminating the need for water to administer the medication. For that reason, ODF technology is especially suitable for people who have difficulty swallowing pills, such as children and the elderly.
tesa SE – the company
tesa SE is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of self-adhesive product and system solutions for industry, professional use, and consumers. The company generates about 80 percent of its sales with products for clients in industrial sectors such as the automotive, electronics, printing, and solar industries. In many countries in Europe, tesa became famous for its transparent adhesive tape marketed under the tesafilm® brand. tesa SE is a wholly owned affiliate of Beiersdorf AG.