Application of composite dissolving microneedles with high drug loading ratio for rapid local anesthesia

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We report a type of dissolving microneedles (DMNs) which was made of composite matrix materials of hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) and poly(methylvinylether-co-maleic anhydride) (PMVE/MA copolymer, Gantrez S-97), and was successfully loaded with lidocaine hydrochloride. The weight of lidocaine hydrochloride loaded in the microneedles tip was 70% of the weight of the whole tip. The content was 3.43 ± 0.12 mg in weight, which was determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The results for mechanical test showed that these microneedles were able to penetrate into the skin of the experimental animals, that was proved using organic staining, texture analyzer and histological examination. The fracture force of the microneedles was 5.442 ± 0.412 N, which was much higher than the one required for the skin penetration. The DMNs with lidocaine hydrochloride could be dissolved inside of the rat skin in 5 min. The onset time would be faster (in <5 min) when it was applied to the guinea pig model, in comparing with a commercially available anesthesia cream that had an onset time for 100 min. However, the efficacy of the DMNs for the local anesthesia only lasted for 16 min. It was shorter than that of the commercially available anesthesia cream with which the efficacy could last for about 130 min. After the DMNs was packaged under the vacuum and dark condition, it was stable for 3 months under the condition of a temperature of 40 ± 2 °C and a humidity of 75 ± 5%. The result of the experiment for the safety evaluation showed that the microneedles were non-irritating and non-allergenic to the skin. In conclusion, the DMNs with lidocaine hydrochloride could be safely administered to the skin with a quick onset time for the local anesthesia.Graphical abstract

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