SBT patch The Research and Development Team at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is trialling the world’s first delivery of asenapine, an antipsychotic medication, through patch application as a new method of treatment for people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. 

The Trust is working in collaboration with clinical research company Richmond Pharmacology to investigate the use of a patch which releases asenapine through the skin into the blood steam.  

Asenapine is currently licensed to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in the US and licenced in the UK for treatment of bipolar disorder, but this is the first time it has been administered using a patch on the skin. The medication is absorbed into the blood stream through the skin over a 24-hour period, which can be a more comfortable method of treatment for those who dislike injections or have difficulties remembering to take tablets. Evidence suggests that the gradual absorption of the medication over a longer period of time can reduce side effects associated with the drug. 

The trial is in an early phase of clinical research which should be completed by December. So far the Trust has had 9 participants and is seeking to recruit 15 more. This will then lead to later phase trials which will be conducted globally over a longer period of time at multiple centres with more participants involved.

The success of the trial is measured through regular physical and mental observations of the participants. Feedback from participants has so far been promising; individuals have reported that they feel happier about their treatment and show a greater understanding of their condition.

One participant said: “The trial has been excellent. I think the patch is better because I have a problem with remembering to take my tablets. I have also experienced fewer side effects. With tablets when you take them you get those side effects straightaway.”