Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Nitroglycerine has been a tried and tested drug for patients who suffer from angina, but the chemical has other benefits: the drug can retard labor and delivery, if a woman is having premature labor. This result comes from research at Queen’s University Perinatal Research Unit at Kingston General Hospital, Canada. Other tocolytics, which is the term for labor delaying drugs, are also on the market showing comparable results, but the nitro patch had an advantage, as it significantly reduced morbidity during the neonatal period.

The researchers worked with 158 women who went into premature labor between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. In a randomized trial they either received a transdermal patch of nitroglycerine or placebo. If contractions continued an hour after the patch was put on the skin, another one was added. The following day treatment was repeated. Delivery was delayed 10 days for all, and a very significant 23 days for those in labor before 28 weeks. Any prolongation of pregnancy closer to a term delivery is helpful, but the greatest significance applies to those, where labor starts before 28 weeks. This is the group of babies that are most at risk, says lead author Dr. Graeme Smith of Kingston General.

There may be two reasons for the overall benefits of nitroglycerin treatment. On the one hand nitroglycerine protects pregnancy in the most vulnerable group, where the mothers enter labor before 28 weeks. The other aspect may be that the nitro patch may be having effects beyond the labor-delaying properties such as better blood flow in the placenta, as there is enough of the medication that reaches the placenta.

Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Nitroglycerin Patch Helps Premature Babies

Dr. Smith reports that at this point there is no “gold standard” tocolytic in Canada. Tocolytics have shown little improvement and frequent side effects. Compared to other tocolytic medications the main side effect of the nitro patch has been a mild headache. In most cases it was not necessary to remove the patch. It is estimated that nitroglycerin is now used in about a third of Canadian centers.

Reference: National Review Of Medicine, February 28, 2007, page 5

Last edited December 5, 2012

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Rotigotine Patch For Parkinson’s Also Helps Restless Leg Syndrome

One of the difficulties in curative medicine is compliance. There are various aspects: patients dislike the feeling of dependency on medications. In some cases there is a dislike for swallowing that pill, and if medications have to be taken several times per day, it can present even more of a challenge. People are busy with their daily routines, they may forget the one or the other dose, and it may very well compromise the effectiveness of a medication.

Various medications can now be administered through a transdermal patch. For sufferers of Parkinson’s disease a new transdermal treatment with the dopamine agonist rotigotine (brand name Neupro®) has been tested. It can become the first line of defense and ease the symptoms. The transdermal patch was generally safe, and as it was well tolerated, patients did not discontinue the treatment. The treatment with rotigotine can help postpone the commonly used medication levodopa, which tends to lose effectiveness over the years.
Another study with the rogitotine patch showed effectiveness for individuals suffering from restless leg syndrome. This disorder makes sleep difficult, and as a result the patient turns sleepy during wakeful hours. Dr. Karin Stiasny-Kolster, a neurologist at Phillips University in Marburg, Germany reported on favorable results with 340 patients suffering of restless leg syndrome.

Rotigotine Patch For Parkinson's Also Helps Restless Leg Syndrome

Rotigotine Patch For Parkinson’s Also Helps Restless Leg Syndrome

In a controlled study, those patients who were wearing the rotigotine patch were showing improvement. Again, the transdermal system was well tolerated and safe and there was no problem with fluctuating dopamine levels. Placebo-treated patients did not respond. The product has been released in European countries and the FDA is investigating for release in the US soon.

More information about restless leg syndrome: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/restless-leg-syndrome/

Reference: The Medical Post, November 3, 2006, page 57-58

Comment: The FDA approved the patch under the name “Neupro-P”. Here is a meta analysis. It shows that the drug improved symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. but it also was associated with more side effects.

Last edited November 2, 2014