The world’s first anti-psychotic patch for people with disorders such as schizophrenia is being trialled by a mental health trust.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s research and development team is working with Richmond Pharmacology, a clinical research organisation, to investigate the use of a patch which releases the medication asenapine through the skin into the bloodstream.

This is an alternative non-invasive method of treatment to taking tablets or receiving injections.

Asenapine is licensed to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in America and in the UK for treatment of bipolar disorder, but this is the first time it has been administered using a patch on the skin.

Evidence suggests the gradual absorption of the drug over a longer period of time can reduce side-effects associated with taking it.

The trial should be completed by December.

So far the trust has had nine participants and is looking to recruit 15 more.  This will then lead to trials which will be conducted globally over a longer period of time.

The trust said feedback from participants has so far been very promising.

One participant said: "The trial has been excellent. 

"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."

Ramin Nilforooshan, consultant psychiatrist and medical lead for research and development at the trust, said: "As an NHS trust we are delighted to be a part of such a high profile trial which could improve the way we provide treatment to not only the people who use our services but people diagnosed with schizophrenia nationally and internationally."

The Trust is the leading provider of specialist mental health and learning disability services and drug and alcohol services for people of all ages in Surrey. 

It also provides social care services for people with a learning disability in Croydon.

The trial is being conducted in Richmond Pharmacology’s clinical research unit located within Croydon University Hospital.

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