Evaluation of an eucalyptus oil containing topical drug delivery system for selected steroid hormones

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In the present study the permeation and the chemical stability of 17-β-estradiol, progesterone, cyproterone acetate and finasteride incorporated in an eucalyptus oil containing microemulsion system have been investigated. The formulations contained 1% (w/w) of the steroid hormones. Self diffusion coefficients determined by pulsed-field-gradient spin echo NMR spectroscopy were used to characterise the microemulsion. From these results a bicontinous structure is proposed for the multicomponent system. However a correlation between the self diffusion of the hormones in the vehicle and the transdermal flux was not indicated. Explanations for this were self assembling, formation of aggregates between the components of the microemulsion and drugs and different effects because of different solubility of the drugs. By addition of certain polymers the skin permeation rates could be improved with exception of cyproterone acetate. Beside standard diffusion experiments, the residual drug content in the skin was investigated. Drug stability was monitored by analysing the steroid hormone content in the different formulations over an observation period of 6 weeks and could be improved by polymers. In addition, viscosity measurements were performed. They indicated an influence of the polymers and drugs on the viscosity in all formulations.

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