Some transdermal patches, which are medicated patches applied directly to the skin, have been found to pose a burn hazard when worn during an MRI scan. The patches contain aluminum or other metals in the backing that can overheat during an MRI scan and cause skin burns.
Transdermal patches are designed to slowly deliver medications through the skin. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some patches have metal in the layer of the patch that is not in direct contact with the skin and the metal may not be visible. There are usually warning labels to alert patients when the transdermal patch does contain metal and the associated risk of burns if the patch is not removed during an MRI scan. Unfortunately, not all of the transdermal patches that contain metal have warning labels.
The FDA is currently reviewing the labeling and composition of all medicated patches to make sure that the ones made with metal materials have an adequate warning about the risk of burns to patients who wear the patches during an MRI scan.
It is recommended that medical providers identify patients who are wearing a transdermal patch before they have the MRI scan. These patients should be advised of how to remove and replace the patch. Patients are also urged to tell the doctor referring them for an MRI scan that they are using a patch and to ask the doctor for guidance about removing and disposing of the patch before the MRI scan. Patients should also tell the MRI facility that they are using a transdermal patch before the appointment.