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This work aimed to develop an optimized ethosomal formulation of glimepiride then loading into transdermal films to offer lower drug side effect, extended release behavior and avoid first pass effect. Four formulation factors were optimized for their effects on vesicle size (Y1), entrapment efficiency (Y2) and vesicle flexibility (Y3). Optimum desirability was identified and, an optimized formulation was prepared, characterized and loaded into transdermal films. Ex-vivo permeation study for the prepared films was conducted and, the permeation parameters and drug permeation mechanism were identified. Penetration through rat skin was studied using confocal laser microscope. In-vivo study was performed following transdermal application on human volunteers. The percent of alcohol was significantly affecting all the studied responses while the other factors and their interaction effects were varied on their effects on each response. The optimized ethosomal formulation showed observed values for Y1, Y2 and Y3 of 61 nm, 97.12% and 54.03, respectively. Ex-vivo permeation of films loaded with optimized ethosomal formulation was superior to that of the corresponding pure drug transdermal films and this finding was also confirmed after confocal laser microscope study. Permeation of glimepiride from the prepared films was in favor of Higushi-diffusion model and exhibited non-Fickian or anomalous release mechanism. In-vivo study revealed extended drug release behavior and lower maximum drug plasma level from transdermal films loaded with drug ethosomal formulation. So, the ethosomal formulation could be considered a suitable drug delivery system especially when loaded into transdermal vehicle with possible reduction in side effects and controlling the drug release.