The transparent patch is worn on the skin, similarly to a nicotine patch, and delivers a consistent dose of ibuprofen which can last for up to twelve hours.
Whilst it's still in the early stages, it's thought that the patch could be the answer for everything from period pains and headaches to chronic conditions such as back pain, neuralgia and arthritis, all, the researchers claim, 'without the need to take potentially damaging doses of the drug orally.'
The patch is also far more convenient than the usual soothing gels, which are difficult to control topically, and messy to apply.
Professor David Haddleton, research chemist at the University, explains:
'Many commercial patches surprisingly don’t contain any pain relief agents at all, they simply soothe the body by a warming effect. Our technology now means that we can for the first time produce patches that contain effective doses of active ingredients such as ibuprofen for which no patches currently exist.'
'Also, we can improve the drug loading and stickiness of patches containing other active ingredients to improve patient comfort and outcome.'
The patch could provide pain relief for everything from headaches to arthritis
The scientists also say that although the prototype uses ibuprofen, a similar model could be used to administer other medicines.
'We have also had great results testing the patch with methyl salicylate (used in liniments, gels and some leading commercial patches). We believe that many other over the counter and prescription drugs can exploit our technology and we are seeking opportunities to test a much wider range of drugs and treatments within our patch,' Professor David adds.
Want to try the patch? You've got a little while to wait, as it's not set to be available on the market for another two years - but we'll see you in the queue when it eventually hits the shelves!