An epidermal patch is a medical adhesive that delivers drugs, nanotech, and other substances to the bloodstream through the skin. They utilize nanobots to adapt to the skin of the user, allowing chemicals to more easily pass through the skin barrier. The patches are advantageous over other forms of application, as it allows a controlled release into the patient. Their main disadvantage is the effectiveness of the skin as a barrier, as only certain chemicals are small enough to be absorbed. This disadvantage is mitigated by sufficient nanotechnological applications.
Dermal patches as a method of drug delivery are ancient, dating back to pre-space flight times for some civilizations. They were typically favored for applications where low, steady doses were called for as opposed to a single, large dose. These patches typically had a porous membrane over a reservoir or used layers that were melted through body heat. However, the number of chemicals that could be absorbed by the skin was limited, meaning only certain drugs could be placed into a patch.
The development of nanotechnology largely eliminated that concern. Modern epidermal patches can be infused with nanobots which are capable of carrying component chemicals across the skin barrier and reconstructing them inside the bloodstream. This can allow a large number of chemicals to safely cross into the bloodstream. The nanobots usually are programmed to self-destruct once their jobs are finished, allowing them to be safely filtered out by the patient's kidneys.
The nanotech also allows the epidermal patches to adapt to the user's skin, allowing it to adhere more perfectly. For those desiring discrete application of their medication, patches can also quickly blend in with their skin tone, making them nearly-invisible and virtually undetectable.
Epidermal patches have a wide variety of uses. The most common usage remains as an unobtrusive method of delivering drugs to a patient's bloodstream. They are painless, giving them advantage over injections, and typically provide a constant low dose of drugs. Unlike ingested drugs, they do not rely on the digestive tract to activate them, eliminating any complications that can arise there.
Other uses include the delivery of nanobots themselves to the body. These nanobots can have a variety of uses, from repairing damaged blood vessels to improving the immune system to regulating chemical imbalances. Other nanotech, such as nano-transceivers and tracking devices can be implanted into a subject through epidermal patches as well.