Recent innovation and rapid advancement in medical technology have resulted in the production of various medical patches that are already available in the market. These patches are to serve as miracle cures for various ailments or help us control our cravings and urges as the case may be.
While questions flood in as to the potency of these medical patches, a general practitioner explains some of the most popular patches available in the market.
Dr Dineo Moerane explains that while some patches do work, most patches are just make belief.
“You have to choose carefully to avoid disappointment and wasting your money. Unfortunately, most people buy into the packaging promises without having all the facts about the patches they are purchasing. Some patches are a direct result of the placebo effect.
“It is their belief that they have strapped on a miracle cure, that their innate willpower pushes them to success,” she says.
Dr. Moerane highlights the different types of medical patches available in the market and their potency.
The Smoking Patch
Smoking can be a pain in the ass when you want to quit. Among the many tricks and remedies used to stop the crave like the tongue sprays and hypnosis, the nicotine patch is still one of the most popular.
People’s opinion about the nicotine patch are generally divided. Some people swear it works while others consider them a farce.
Now lets hear what the doctor has to say about it.
“A smoking patch can be very effective if used correctly. The reason most people struggle to quit smoking is because of their addiction to nicotine.
“What causes the withdrawal symptoms is the body going into shock at the sudden stop of the nicotine intake.
“What the patch does is release some nicotine to your body, which absorbs through the skin into your blood stream. It is not the same amount of nicotine that you would get through cigarettes, which then helps control your cravings,” says Moerane.
However, Dr. Moerane cautions that nicotine patches are not a long-term solution to smoking.
“While the nicotine patches may reduce cravings for a few months, they are by no chance a guarantee that you will permanently quit smoking. Lifestyle changes like amending your diet and exercising are a more permanent solution.
“Minimising your association with smokers as well can really help. Ultimately, self-control is the main source to permanently quitting smoking.”
The Pain Patch
“There are many brands of pain patches on the market, just like there are many variations of pain medication on the market.
“How the patch works is that it releases the medication through the patch, and the premise is that because the medication released is absorbed through the skin and directly through the blood stream directly to the affected area, it is absorbed faster, and goes to work immediately.”
This means that pain patches can offer instant relief from pain.
However, the pain may go away for a while and appear right back in most cases. If a person has prolonged back pain, mere pain patches will not be able to take the pains away permanently.
“The same goes for painful joints or arthritis. These ailments require specific treatment and consultation with a professional in that field,” she says.
The Weight Loss Patch
“Unfortunately, there is very little clinical evidence that weight loss patches work,” says Moerane.
“What the patches claim is that you place it on your skin daily, and that they will release some extracts that will boost your metabolism and help you burn calories.”
Due to lack of strong scientific evidence about the effectiveness of these medical patches, Moerane says she is sceptical of them.
This is quite unfortunate since a lot of people are crazy about shedding some weight through these medical patches.
The Birth Control Patch
“This is the patch that I can safely say works,” Moerane says.
“How the patch works is that you place it on your skin for a period of time, and it will release oestrogen and progestin, which are the same hormones found in the birth control pill. The patch will prevent the eggs from leaving the ovaries, as well as preventing the sperm to reach the eggs, thus preventing pregnancy.”
However, Moerane advised to consult a doctor before deciding to use the birth patch, as some women may be exempted from using it for health reasons.
“Overweight women and women with chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure are advised against using the patch. It also comes with the same side effects of using the pill, so if you are not a big fan of the pill, you will not favour the patch either.”
These medical patches may be the solution to some health issues but there should be minimal dependency on them until they are proven to be completely safe and effective.