On Monday, February 24, 2020, RYAH Medtech announced a brand new technology set to revolutionize the delivery of plant-based (and non-plant-based) medicines. The RYAH Smart Transdermal Patch is the first of its kind, combining unique IoT capabilities via the patch “Brain” with precise transdermal drug delivery.
For patients, physicians, and researchers, this new technology opens up a world of personalized, dose-controlled possibilities that can be used to improve treatment efficacy.
Introducing the RYAH Smart Transdermal Patch
Up until now, a transdermal patch brought to mind a Band-Aid-like beige plaster stuck discreetly to an upper arm. These products, while useful for topical drug delivery, were uncontrolled, imprecise, and difficult for outcome measurements. With the launch of the first connected transdermal device, RYAH is set to solve all these frustrations and more.
Effective, discreet, and connected, the Smart Transdermal Patch will deliver plant and non-plant-based medications transdermally while also giving complete control on timing, dose size, and more to the patient through a connected mobile application.
The device comprises two separate parts, including the slow-release patch membrane and the battery-powered “brain.” The membrane layer is a disposable, adhesive patch with a drug-containing reservoir compatible with medicinal compounds useful in transdermal medicines. The brain is a reusable and rechargeable Bluetooth-connected device, which communicates wirelessly with a mobile application, precisely like the RYAH Dose Inhaler.
The patented Bluetooth-enabled transdermal patch collects valuable information on which dose, application location (arm, chest, back, etc), and formula work best for the patient. The detailed data pulled from the device translates into better treatment protocols and clinical trial analyses. In time, it will improve the data analytics associated with patient transdermal medicine intake.
As Jordan Medley, Head of Product Operations at RYAH, explained in the recent press release, “The Smart Patch is the latest RYAH MedTech device that we believe helps clinics, doctors, and patients take greater control of their plant-based medicine intake for more predictable and effective results.” Through a temperature control component built into the mobile app, the device accurately and consistently controls the dosing schedule and dose size.
At a time when unauthorized data collection is at the top of everyone’s mind, RYAH protects individual privacy with their HIPAA-compliant data analytics platform. The platform will help on many levels:
a) patients will be able to quickly determine effective formula and dose
b) physicians will be able to assess patient treatment
c) contract research organizations (CROs) will be able to deliver precise plant-based medicines during clinical trials — all while actively protecting patient privacy.
Potential to Bring Plant-Based Medicine to a Broader Demographic
Although plant-based medicines have taken the world by storm over the last decade or so, not all patients are suitable candidates for inhaled delivery.
According to “Cannabis Use Preferences and Decision-making Among a Cross-sectional Cohort of Medical Cannabis Patients with Chronic Pain,” published in 2019 in the Journal of Pain, not everyone appreciates the smoked or inhaled options, although they remain popular.
Perhaps due to convenience or the fact that available inhaled cannabis is still the most popular, according to this survey, women tend to prefer edibles and topicals compared to their male counterparts. In another fascinating discovery, most of the 1,321 medical cannabis patients surveyed enjoyed more than one method of administration for the treatment of chronic pain. In their analysis, the researchers reported 93.4 percent of respondents relied on two ways, while a full 72.5 percent used three.
What this survey cemented is that many patients prefer to find relief with several routes of administration. Although, as the authors note, “This diversity of administration routes highlights a key difference between real-life medical cannabis use and clinical trials.” From their analysis, there is significant consumer interest in the “plethora of available cannabis products.”
Better Bioavailability and Fewer Side Effects
Transdermal delivery of cannabinoids solves several issues with other methods, such as the potential for bronchial irritation from inhalables and the first-pass metabolism effect from edibles.
Cannabinoids are naturally lipophilic, making for easy absorption into the skin when applied topically. But, to go deeper, these molecules need assistance. Effective transdermal administration of cannabinoids, which permeate into the bloodstream and into the deeper strata of the epidermis, requires either an advanced formulation or a heating component, like the RYAH Smart Patch. Applying gentle heat increases the bioavailability of transdermal cannabinoid treatments.
In “Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment,” researchers highlighted the benefits of transdermal cannabinoids for several possible medical issues, including localized inflammation, dermatological conditions, neuropathic pain, and arthritis. The authors note the value of the transdermal administration because it “allows a steady infusion of a drug to be delivered over a prolonged period of time, while also minimising the adverse effects of higher drug peak concentrations, which can improve patient adherence.”
RYAH’s Smart Patch, planning a commercial release later in 2020, could bring plant-based medicines to entirely new patient populations, including into pediatrics, sports medicine, and elderly patients. It’s the complementary alternative to dose-controlled vapor, based on a format already in use by a large number of patients.
Revolutionizing Transdermal Dose Control
Much like how the RYAH Dose Controlled Inhaler revolutionized precision dosing for inhalable plant-based medicines, the RYAH Smart Patch is setting out to revolutionize the dosing capabilities of transdermal drug delivery.
Cannabinoid research has always faced challenges trying to capture a complicated botanical compound with the traditional pharmaceutical model of research. Pharmaceutical clinical trials require precision, accuracy, and measurable dosing. This requires complete control over the chemical profile of the medicine undergoing testing. As a complex and highly variable plant, cannabis tends to defy all these requirements.
Cannabis is a plant with hundreds of compounds, which vary significantly from one strain to the next, and even one preparation to the next. Most of the research today relies on synthetic cannabinoids, isolated compounds, or patient-reported strain information. While helpful in the short term, there is a driving need for better data on dose, formula, and medicinal value.
As per the authors of “Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment,” the research into transdermal cannabinoids so far includes preclinical phases, animal trials, self-initiated topical use, and randomized, double-blind studies.
While much of this literature supports the effectiveness of transdermal administration, imagine what precise dosing could offer the future of new clinical trials. Researchers would have the ability to manage consistent and accurate doses, with measured cannabinoid profiles, for total control over clinical delivery. That means a meaningful reduction in many of the most common limitations on research.
Valuable for Patients, Healthcare Providers, and CROs
Within the next year, the RYAH Smart Patch will be in the hands of patients, helping to determine the best cannabinoid/medicinal formula, dose size, and treatment protocol for their specific needs. Through the connected mobile app, patients will have immediate access to their data, providing crucial insights into their treatment efficacy.
For doctors and other healthcare providers, the Smart Patch will create detailed reporting on patient adherence as well as the medicinal value of the formula. Not only does this improve the treatment for the patient in question, but it will also help direct the future of plant-based medicines through hard data.
Finally, RYAH Smart Patch is set to provide CROs an incredible new tool to advance the science of cannabis medicine. The device and data collection are easily customized to facilitate clinical trials, aggregating patient responses, dose details, and more. It can directly integrate into any electronic health record system.
RYAH Medtech is currently assessing formulation and seeking distribution partners for its pre-order launch, scheduled for the coming months. Stay tuned for updates on the commercial release later this year.