NSAIDs inhibit the body’s inflammation process without the use of cortisone or other steroid drugs. The most commonly used NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen. There is a significant market opportunity for a drug delivery system that minimizes GI side affects associated with oral NSAIDs. This is exhibited by the approval and launch of Alpharma’s Flector patch (diclofenac epolamine 1.3%) and Novartis/Endo’s Voltaren Emulgel (diclofenac 1%).
Although both are topically based products, side effects more common for oral NSAIDs have been reported for the Flector patch. And Emulgel requires 3-4 applications per day to provide temporary relief.
Given the aging populations of the US, EU and Japan, the market sizes of these drugs is expected to increase significantly over their current levels. In addition, an estimated 10% of the market is not being captured due to known gastro-intestinal problems with the drug class.