Transdermal permeation of WIN 55,212-2 and CP 55,940 in human skin in vitro

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Synthetic cannabinoids have a promising future as treatments for nausea, appetite modulation, pain, and many neurological disorders. Transdermal delivery is a convenient and desirable dosage form for these drugs and health conditions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the in vitro transdermal permeation of two synthetic cannabinoids, WIN 55,212-2 and CP 55,940. Transdermal flux, drug content in the skin, and lag times were measured in split-thickness human abdominal skin in flow-through diffusion cells with receiver solutions of 4% bovine serum albumin (BSA) or 0.5% Brij 98. Differential thermal analysis (DSC) was performed in order to determine heats of fusion, melting points, and relative thermodynamic activities. The in vitro diffusion studies in 0.5% Brij 98 indicated that WIN 55,212-2 diffuses across human skin faster than CP 55,940. The WIN 55,212-2 skin disposition concentration levels were also significantly higher than that of CP 55,940. Correspondingly, CP 55,940 was significantly metabolized in the skin. WIN 55,212-2 flux and skin disposition were significantly lower into 4% BSA than into 0.5% Brij 98 receiver solutions. There was no significant difference in the flux, lag time, and drug content in the skin of CP 55,940 in 4% BSA versus 0.5% Brij 98 receiver solutions. The DSC studies showed that CP 55,940 had a significantly lower melting point, smaller heat of fusion, and corresponding higher calculated thermodynamic activity than the more crystalline WIN 55,212-2 mesylate salt. The permeation results indicated that WIN 55,212-2 mesylate, CP 55,940, and other potent synthetic cannabinoids with these physicochemical properties could be ideal candidates for the development of a transdermal therapeutic system.

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