Successful application of large microneedle patches by human volunteers

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We describe, for the first time, the design, production and evaluation of large microneedle patches. Such systems, based on 16 individual microneedle arrays (needle height 600 μm), were prepared from aqueous blends of 15% w/w Gantrez® S97 and 7.5% w/w poly(ethyleneglycol) 10,000 Da. Ester-based crosslinking was confirmed by FTIR and mechanical strength was good. Insertion depths in a validated skin model were approximately 500 μm. Ten human volunteers successfully self-inserted the microneedles of these larger patches in their skin, following appropriate instruction, as confirmed by transepidermal water loss measurements. The mean insertion depth ranged between 300 and 450 μm over the area of the large patches. That this was not significantly different to a single unit MN patch self-applied by the same volunteers is encouraging. Microneedle patch sizes much larger than the 1-2 cm2 will be required if this technology is to be successfully translated to clinic for delivery of drug substances. The work described here suggests that use of such larger patches by patients can be successful, potentially opening up the possibility for a significant expansion of the size of the market for transdermal drug delivery.

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