Nanofiber-Based Fentanyl Bandages for Localized Treatment of Burn Pain

M. Patterson, B. Brooks, M. Skoff, J. Mao, Z. You, C. Tison
Luna Innovations, Inc., Virginia, United States

Keywords: opioid, burn, pain, dressing, fentanyl

During military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of United States military personnel have suffered serious burn wounds. Current burn care practices, such as debridement and physical therapy, produce intense pain for patients, resulting in several later complications such as chronic pain and peripheral neuropathy. The management of this intense pain relies almost exclusively on systemically administered opioids or other pain medications, which are known to produce side effects as serious as opioid dependence. In order to reduce the total amount of fentanyl required for treatment and help alleviate issues with opioid dependence, Luna is developing nanofiber-based dressings that allow controlled loading of fentanyl at very low concentrations, with the ability to tune release profiles and rates. The bandage utilizes significantly less fentanyl than existing commercial patches or intramuscular/venous injections, but are demonstrated to provide similar, and potentially localized, therapeutic relief. Luna has confirmed that nanofiber-based dressings can be produced with varying concentrations of fentanyl. In a rat hindpaw burn pain model, a significant and dose-responsive pain relief was observed. The chemistry of the dressing was shown to modulate fentanyl release profiles and rates in vitro, and these release profiles and rates were directly correlated with in vivo pain relief.