In vitro drug release tests are a widely used tool to measure the variance between transdermal product performances and required by many authorities. However, the result cannot provide a good estimation of the in vivo drug release. In the present work, a new method for measuring drug release from patches has been explored and compared with the conventional USP apparatus 2 and 5 methods. Durogesic patches, here used as a model patch, were placed on synthetic skin simulator and three moisture levels (29, 57, 198 μL cm(-2)) were evaluated. The synthetic skin simulators were collected after 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 24 hours and extracted with pH 1.0 hydrochloric acid solution. The drug concentrations in the extractions were measured by isocratic reverse phase high-pressure liquid chromatography. The results showed that, with the increasing moisture level on the synthetic skin simulator, the drug release rate increased. In comparison with the conventional USP method, the drug release results performed by the new method were in more correlation to the release rate claimed in the product label. This new method could help to differentiate the drug release rates among assorted formulations of transdermal drug delivery systems in the early stage of development.