Transdermal iontophoresis of flufenamic acid loaded PLGA nanoparticles

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The objective of this study was to test in vitro a drug delivery system that combines nanoencapsulation and iontophoresis for the transdermal delivery of lipophilic model drug using poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) as the carrier polymer. Negatively charged fluorescent nanoparticles loaded with negatively charged flufenamic acid were prepared. The colloidal properties of the particles were stable under iontophoretic current (constant, pulsed and alternating) profiles and in contact with skin barrier. The release of the drug from the particles was not affected by iontophoresis and remained always limited (≈ 50%), leading to significantly lower transdermal fluxes across human epidermis and full thickness porcine skin compared to respective free drug formulation. From nanoparticles, pulsed current profile resulted in comparable or higher fluxes compared to constant current profile although fluorescence imaging was not able to confirm deeper distribution of nanoparticles in skin. Based on our results, there is no clear advantage with respect to drug permeation from nanoencapsulating flufenamic acid into PLGA nanoparticles compared to free drug formulation, either in passive or iontophoretic delivery regimens. However, pulsed current iontophoresis could be an effective alternative instead of traditional constant current iontophoresis to enhance transdermal permeation of drugs from nanoencapsulated formulations.

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