Abstract Therapeutic systems can provide pre-programmed, unattended delivery of a drug at a rate, and for a time period, established to meet a specific therapeutic need. The system can be designed to minimize the patient's intervention and to optimize compliance with the prescribed regimen. The ocular therapeutic system described here for the control of intraocular pressure in glaucoma delivers pilocarpine at 20 or 40 μg/h for one week, and fits comfortably into the cul-de-sac of the eye. The intrauterine progesterone contraceptive system described here represents a new approach to steroidal contraception that localizes the effect of the hormone progesterone to the uterus, delivering the hormone at a rate of 65 μg/day for one year. Both of these systems are designed to deliver drug into their immediate locale, and are thus topical dosage forms. The transdermal therapeutic system described here has been designed to deliver scopolamine across intact skin and into systemic blood to achieve an antinausea effect. The pharmacokinetics of scopolamine are such that, to minimize the time required for the onset of drug action, drug should be presented at an initially high rate, i.e. as a priming dose, to attain the therapeutically effective drug level, and then at a constant rate, so as to maintain the therapeutically effective level. This system functions according to the priming dose/maintenance rate design requirement.