First transdermal patch to treat schizophrenia hits market

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved a transdermal patch to treat schizophrenia developed by Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co following successful clinical testing.
The patch contains a formulation of asenapine which is used to manage symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and is the first of its kind. Schizophrenia now affects around 20 million people worldwide. It’s a debilitating mental disorder that can cause hallucinations, delusions and trouble concentrating.

Richmond Pharmacology are proud to have been involved in the patch’s development since 2014 when we investigated its effectiveness in patients during early-phase testing. Patients reported feeling happier and noted fewer side effects compared to tablets and injections.


For schizophrenia patients who, until recently, only had limited therapeutic options, the patch formulation offers several advantages. It delivers asenapine more gradually into the blood stream over a 24-hour period. Gradual absorption has been shown to reduce the side effects of medications. That’s because a smaller amount of a therapeutic compound is delivered over a longer period of time. At the same time, patients experience fewer gastrointestinal complaints because the gut is bypassed.

The patch formulation is also a more comfortable treatment option compared to injections or tablets because patients don’t need to remember to swallow their pills at certain times or have to travel long distances to receive an injection.

The patch passed phase III testing back in 2018 and is now officially available under the brand name Secuado.

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