Electroporation as an Efficient Physical Enhancer for Skin Drug Delivery

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Transdermal drug delivery offers an attractive alternative to the conventional drug delivery methods of oral administration and injection. However, the stratum corneum acts as a barrier that limits the penetration of substances through the skin. Application of high-voltage pulses to the skin increases its permeability (electroporation) and enables the delivery of various substances into and through the skin. The application of electroporation to the skin has been shown to increase transdermal drug delivery. Moreover, electroporation, used alone or in combination with other enhancement methods, expands the range of drugs (small to macromolecules, lipophilic or hydrophilic, charged or neutral molecules) that can be delivered transdermally. The efficacy of transport depends on the electrical parameters and the physicochemical properties of drugs. The in vivo application of high-voltage pulses is well tolerated, but muscle contractions are usually induced. The electrode and patch design is an important issue to reduce the discomfort of the electrical treatment in humans. This review presents the main findings in the field of electroporation—namely, transdermal drug delivery. Particular attention is paid to proposed enhancement mechanisms and trends in the field of topical and transdermal delivery.

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