Mental health trust trials world’s first anti-psychotic patch

The Research and Development Team at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is trialling the world’s first delivery of asenapine, an antipsychotic medication, through patch application as a new method of treatment for people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

The Trust is working in collaboration with clinical research company Richmond Pharmacology to investigate the use of a patch which releases asenapine through the skin into the blood steam.

Asenapine is currently licensed to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the US and licenced in the UK for treatment of bipolar disorder, but this is the first time it has been administered using a patch on the skin. The medication is absorbed into the blood stream through the skin over a 24-hour period, which can be a more comfortable method of treatment for those who dislike injections or have difficulties remembering to take tablets. Evidence suggests that the gradual absorption of the medication over a longer period of time can reduce side effects associated with the drug.

The trial is in an early phase of clinical research which should be completed by December. So far the Trust has had 9 participants and is seeking to recruit 15 more. This will then lead to later phase trials which will be conducted globally over a longer period of time at multiple centres with more participants involved.


This is an interesting idea… for someone like me who want’s to stay out of hospital and has been med compliant, I could see this working.

But for someone like my youngest brother who is still in denial and angry and needs injections due to his absolute insistence that nothing is wrong with him… this wouldn’t work. If he’s not going to swallow a pill, he’s not going to put on a patch.

What if he were given the option, more injections or patch?

If he were given the option right now… it would be neither because he thinks he was fine this past 18 months… it’s all us… we’re the ones being oversensitive… just like the entire court system that is forcing treatment on him.

When he finally stabilizes and gets some insight, then I have a feeling something like the patch would work for him.

Very interesting - thanks for posting! The more options the better.

Nicotine patches always fall off for me, which is fine, but when these patches contain such important, and expensive, medication it sounds like a bad idea.

Also, they’d never work for anyone who wasn’t completely devoted to his recovery. It would be a constant reminder of your illness. At least with pills you can muster up and take them and you’re done. It’s unlikely you’ll change your mind an puke them up. A patch can just be taken off at any time.

Most people on injections receive them because they can’t, or won’t, take pills. If they can’t take pills or they’re being court ordered because of non-compliance, how will a patch be better?

You bring up a good point - what problem are they trying to solve with the patch? Perhaps some people can’t swallow pills and don’t like injections.