Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flector patch--the first NSAID patch for pain

So what does a NSAID patch have to do with this piece of exercise equipment? Let me explain.

It's called a Trikke (as in trike for grown-ups). You use all your balance and leg strength to power this in a skating sort of fashion. Is this the appropriate gizmo for a middle-aged female? No, no, not me, I wouldn't be caught dead on this thing--probably would be dead if I tried. My intrepid medical partner Adele, however, has been seen 'skating' on a Trikke down Montview Blvd. here in Denver, and one day she met the pavement beside her trike, her hamstring muscle ripped from its pelvic attachment.* She healed to skate (and ride, and do Pilates, and lift weights again), but the scarred muscle is not as flexible as it used to be which in turn puts stress on her pyriformis muscle.

So last week she was running from exam room to exam room working her healing magic while occasionally clutching her piriformis muscle which was in spasm whilst whining softly with pain (check out where the pyriformis muscle is and you'll know what she was grabbing). The King Pharmaceuticals rep coincidentally showed up with info and samples of the Flector patch.

A word or two about diclofenac, the active ingredient in this medicated patch indicated for topical use for pain control of acute injuries such as strains, sprains, and contusions. Diclofenac, formerly known as Voltaren, is a dandy non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which reaches high concentrations in joint spaces. It's generic, cheap, works well, AND causes stomach inflammation with bleeding, possible liver toxicity, and can reduce blood flow to kidneys, particularly aging kidneys.

So, Novartis developed Voltaren Gel to smear on arthritic joints; used regularly it significantly decreases pain without bothering the stomach, the liver, or the kidneys. And now King Pharmaceuticals brings us diclofenac in patch form with very little systemic absorption--also safer for use particularly in older souls with acid gastritis and aging vascular systems.

Adele, being the sort of sport that she is and really distressed by her pain in the butt, slapped a patch on the offending area. Perhaps this was not the best Flector patch trial as it became quite wrinkled given the anatomy of the area and the wearer reported it was a little like having an ongoing wedgie. Nevertheless, Flector is a good idea (but a really stupid name) and I look forward to handing them out to persons with sprained ankles, shoulders, or back to see how they fare.
*My bro' Reality Man uses one too, but so far he's remained upright in his exercise endeavors.


Dr S. said...

I know that this is not a post-appropriate comment, but ff you have the fantastic Hugh Laurie's autograph...well, I hope that it's framed and on the wall in your consulting room!

Ruth said...

Thanks for the info. I will see if this in available in Canada. My stomach is not tolerating oral NSAIDS well.

Reality Man said...

I must admit I have put it down once, attempting, in the words of Thomas McGuane, "a bravura extension beyond my capabilities."

mamadoc said...

Ah, it works for a pain in the butt. Suppose it would work on some of my patients?