The present investigation was directed towards the synthesis of a copolymer of 2-ethylhexyl acrylate and acrylic acid to be exploited as a pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) matrix in transdermal drug delivery systems. The polymer synthesis involved free radical solution polymerization using 2, 2′-azobisisobutyronitrile as the free radical initiator. The experimental methodology involved the optimization of reaction conditions for the polymer synthesis. The optimized copolymer was then characterized by IR, 1H-NMR, DSC, GPC and XRD. The PSA was also evaluated for percent free monomer content, intrinsic viscosity, refractive index, moisture uptake potential and film forming properties. To assess it suitability in the development of transdermal systems, peel strength values with respect to release liner as well as human skin and skin irritation potential were also determined. In addition, wear performance test was conducted to evaluate adhesion and adhesive transfer. The synthesized adhesive was found to have good peel strength; exhibited excellent adhesion and adhesive transfer on removal. It was found suitable for use in transdermals and could be further exploited either as an adhesive matrix or as a system component in the area of transdermal drug delivery. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.