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Traditional patches, such as sticking plaster or acrylic adhesives used for over a hundred years, lack functionality. To address this issue of poor functionality, adhesive hydrogel patches have emerged as an efficient bioactive multifunctional alternative. Hydrogels are three-dimensional, water-swellable, and polymeric materials closely resembling the native tissue architecture. The physicochemical properties of hydrogels can be modified easily, allowing them to be suitable for various biomedical applications. Moreover, adhesive properties can be imparted to hydrogels through physicochemical manipulations, making them ideal candidates for supplementing or replacing traditional sticking plaster. As a result, sticky hydrogel patches are widely used for transdermal drug delivery and have even found commercial purposes. Beyond transdermal delivery, such hydrogel patches have also found applications in cardiac therapy, cancer research, and biosensing, among other applications. In this mini-review, we critically discuss the challenges of fabricating multifunctional adhesive hydrogel patches. Furthermore, we introduce some of the chemical strategies involved with fabricating the patches. We also review their emerging biomedical applications. Finally, we explore their potential future in the flourishing field of tissue engineering and drug delivery.
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