Versatis Patch from Grunenthal
Versatis (5% Lignocaine) has recently been approved for the management of patients with post herpetic neuralgia. It is a prescription only medicine at present and will therefore require a hospital or doctors prescription to obtain this.
Versatis is the brand name of a medicated plaster which contains the local anaesthetic Lidocaine (Lignocaine), which has been formulated into a topical plaster preparation in its 5% form for the treatment of post herpetic neuralgia. Post herpetic neuralgia is a form of neuropathic pain which can occur in patients following an attack of shingles with the herpes zoster virus. Patients with post herpetic neuralgia often describe the pain with very florid language including burning, shooting or stabbing pain.
They may also well have other elements of neuropathic pain such as skin hypersensitivity and changes in other sensory modalities such as temperature. Post herpetic neuralgia is often relatively localised and mostly affects the skin over the torso, particularly the chest, back, upper arms and the side of the face.
This new preparation, Versatis, comes as a medicated plaster 14 x 10 cm (5½ x 4 inches) in size which can be applied directly to the area of skin where pain is felt. It is also possible to cut the patch to shape without losing its beneficial effects.
The application of Versatis plasters is very simple; the skin should be unbroken, clean and dry, preferably avoiding any creams or lotions which may impair its ability to adhere to the skin. If there are hairs nearby, it is best to cut these off with scissors but not shave the area as this may exacerbate the pain significantly.
Up to 3 plasters can be applied to the painful area. The plasters should be pressed onto the skin firmly for at least 10 seconds to make sure the plaster sticks properly. It is important to make sure that the entire plaster sticks to the skin, including the edges. In terms of wearing the plaster, the advice is to wear it for 12 hours on and 12 hours off and particularly to wear it when the pain is worst, which is individual but may well be during the night.
If any other medicines are being taken, it is as always important to advise the doctor to ensure there are no drug interactions with Versatis. However, because Versatis is a topical preparation, very little of the active ingredients (that is the local anaesthetic Lidocaine) gets into the bloodstream and so Versatis can be used with confidence and without problems in association with other treatments such as anti-neuropathic medication for the relief of pain in post herpetic neuralgia.
Can I bathe or shower with the Versatis plaster on? It is best to avoid contact with water whilst using the medicated plaster as it may interfere with the adhesive and stop it from sticking properly.
What happens if the plaster comes off? If, in the unlikely circumstance that this happens or it becomes unstuck, you can try to stick it back down. If not, use some micropore tape or similar over the top to stick it down or if all else fails, replace it with a new patch.
What if I forget to remove the plaster after 12 hours? As soon as you do remember, you need to remove the old plaster and then use a new plaster after 12 hours.
What if I forget to use the Versatis? As soon as you remember, you should reapply. It is easiest to use 12 hour time slots, for instance 8 pm to 8 am, to cover you through the night although this is variable as previously discussed.
What if I use more plasters than I should? This, in itself, is not dangerous. However, the more plasters you use for the longer period of time, more likely you are to develop skin irritation and skin sensitivity.
How does the Versatis work? Firstly, the plaster is well padded. If you have areas of hypersensitive skin which may be painful to touch or temperature change, the plaster could act as a physical barrier to this hypersensitive skin. Secondly, there is Lidocaine (Lignocaine) local anaesthetic medication which provides sustained local pain relief. Thirdly, there is the cooling effect of the hydrogel plaster.
What are the side effects of Versatis? Generally, these involve minor skin irritation around the site of the plaster application. This may include redness, rash, itching, burning, dermatitis, small blisters. If this occurs, you should ask your doctor for advice.
Can I drive or operate machinery? It is highly unlikely that Versatis will have any adverse effects on your ability to drive or operate machinery as it is not associated with impaired cognitive function, neurological disturbances or sedation.
What happens if I am breast feeding? There are currently no studies relating to this plaster with breast feeding women. The best advice would be to contact your medical practitioner and discuss the potential risks and benefits of using this medication.
How do I remove and dispose of Versatis? You should remove the old plaster slowly. If it is difficult coming off, it can be soaked in warm water for a few minutes before removing. It should then be folded and disposed of responsibly. It is not advisable to flush them down the toilet as they may cause blockages.
How do I store Versatis? The plasters come in a self closing sachet. After opening, each sachet should be used within 14 days. Only use Versatis from a sachet that is undamaged. The product should not be refrigerated or frozen and should be kept out of sight and reach of children at all times.