Hydrogel-thickened nanoemulsions based on essential oils for topical delivery of psoralen: Permeation and stability studies

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Nanoemulsions (NE) have attracted much attention due to their as dermal delivery systems for lipophilic drugs such as psoralens. However, NE feature low viscosity which might be unsuitable for topical application. In this work, we produced hydrogel-thickened nanoemulsions (HTN) using chitosan as thickening polymer to overcome the low viscosity attributed to NE. The aim of this study is to develop and characterize oil-in-water (o/w) HTN based on sweet fennel and clove essential oil to transdermal delivery of 8-methoxsalen (8-MOP). NE components (oil, surfactant) were selected on the basis of solubility and droplet size and processed in a high-pressure homogenizer (HPH). Drug loaded NE and HTN were characterized for particle size, stability under storage and centrifugation, rheological behavior, transdermal permeation and skin accumulation. Transdermal permeation of 8-MOP from HTN was determined by using Franz diffusion cell. Transdermal permeation from HTN using clove essential oil showed strong dependency chitosan molecular weight. On the other hand, HTN using sweet fennel oil showed an unexpected pH-dependent behavior not fully understood at the moment. These results need further investigation, nevertheless HTN revealed to be interesting and complex dermal delivery systems for poorly soluble drugs.

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