Across the world, the lifestyle is becoming increasingly sedentary and fast paced. While sitting on a chair in offices all day leads to physical inactivity, the fast pace of life results in emotional stress. With lack of time, people’s dietary pattern gets affected, which leads to improper nutrition. All these factors, combined with tobacco and alcohol abuse, result in chronic diseases, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, and several cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the prevalence of all of which is rising. As per the World Health Organization, the number of diabetics rose to 422 million in 2014, from 108 million in 1980.
All these conditions require long-term medication, which is increasingly being delivered via the skin. Therefore, owing to the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, the transdermal drug delivery systems market is projected to grow from just over $30.0 billion in 2016, to more than $60.0 billion in size by 2023, at a CAGR of 9.8% during 2017–2023 (forecast period). Such devices are of two types — passive, which send the medication into the dermis simply via osmosis, and active, which use an external force, such as electricity, to accomplish the task. In 2016, the passive variants were more popular due to their easy application.
Transdermal drug delivery systems are used for analgesics (pain relief), hormone replacement, smoking cessation, hypertension, and motion sickness. Among these, the widest usage of such devices has been for pain relief, as pain is the most commonly seen symptom of any health issue, and it can often be so much that it affects people’s ability to make rational decisions. Most of the chronic diseases, especially CVDs and cancer, have pain as a symptom, which is the reason behind the heavy consumption of painkillers, via the skin.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the number of new cancer cases in the U.S., for 2018 at 1,735,350. The agency also says that in the country, 805,000 people suffer from a heart attack, which often causes chest pain, during the attack and long after it is over. Apart from diseases and emotional stimulus, the gradual weakening of the body, which happens with age, results in several musculoskeletal issues, such as arthritis, atrophy, and frequent fractures. As all of these cause pain, the elderly require constant analgesics dosage.
Across the globe, North America recorded the highest usage of such devices, due to the growing number of chronic disease patients and the increasing demand for drug delivery methods that are painless. During the forecast period, people in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are predicted to adopt such devices the most rapidly, as a result of the improving healthcare facilities, surging healthcare expenditure, high population, especially of the elderly, and increasing awareness on the technology. Within the region, the transdermal drug delivery systems market growth in India would be the fastest.
Thus, as the number of people suffering from painful conditions and diseases requiring medication increases, so would the use of devices that deliver medication through the skin, thereby making the process almost painless.
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