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How do pain patches work to treat pain?

Pain patches contain different medications inside them; when applied to the skin, they deliver pain relief locally to the area. Watch pain management expert Devi Nampiaparampil, MD, describe the common ingredients and benefits of using pain patches.


Pain patches work to treat pain by transmitting their medicine throught the skin instead of by swallowing or other means. There are a few different types of patches used to treat pain. One type contains an anti-inflammatory similar to ibuprofen. Using the medicine this way decreases some of the side effects such as stomach irritation that may occur by taking a pill. Another type of pain patch is a topical anesthetic similar to Xylocaine which numbs the area, and a third contains narcotic pain medicine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.