Medicine is any pharmaceutical product that is prepared in order to treat diseases. Furthermore, there are medicines which are formulated in such a way that they are administered directly to the body surface such as the skin, eyes, ears, mucous membrane or through inhalation. These are referred to as topical medicines. They come in the form of creams, gels, lotions and ointments. Advanced research in medicine has made it possible to administer a specific dosage of a drug through the skin at a controlled rate. This is called transdermal drug delivery, and it is facilitated by a patch that is medicated and it is placed on the affected area.
The following are safety tips that a patient needs to comply with while on topical medication:
1. Consult a qualified medical practitioner before buying topical medicines. Most of these medications are over the counter and the chances of patients buying and using them without consultation are quite high. Through consultation, one will learn about the safety of the product and its possible side effects.
2. Topical medicine should only be applied on the affected areas. Extra precaution should be taken when applying on areas that rub together, for example the armpits or between the buttocks. Application should be done sparingly as these areas absorb more medication than other parts of the body. Eyes and the mucous membranes are very sensitive, hence contact with any other medicine must be avoided.
3. The affected area should be carefully cleaned with soap, and all traces of soap should be rinsed off and dried before application of any medicines. Hands should also be washed after application to avoid contamination or possible transmission of the infection.
4. Follow the instructions as stated on the label. This will guide the amount to use and the duration. The amount of medicine will depend on the type of disease and how severe it is. Similarly, the duration is a guide, and the patient should visually inspect the area to monitor the progress.
5. Topical medicine should never be applied on broken or irritated skin. This is when the body tissues are exposed, and it will cause more harm than the actual healing. To reduce irritation during medication, the drug should not be rubbed in the skin, but applied gently.
6. After application of any topical medicine, the patient should not apply heat. This will result in absorption of more drug than is recommended, and also the possibility of getting burns since the skin is already weakened.
7. Plastic wraps should not be used to cover areas that the medicine is applied to, as this will lead to build up of heat. Bandages should also be avoided when using this form of medication.
8. The patient should be on the look for signs of prolonged skin irritation or blistering when on topical medications. In the case that this happens, they should discontinue using the medication and consult a qualified medical practitioner. They should take along the product so that diagnosis given will be accurate.
Transdermal drug delivery systems have advantages in that they are less painful, they are self administered, do not generate medical waste, and the risk to the liver is minimized.