Dermal and transdermal delivery of pharmaceutically relevant macromolecules

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The skin offers an attractive way for dermal and transdermal drug delivery that is why the drug still needs certain qualities to transcend the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. The requirements are: drugs with a maximum molecular weight of 1 kDa, high lipophilicity and a certain polarity. This would restrict the use of a transdermal delivery of macromolecules, which would make the drug more effective in therapeutic administration.

Various studies have shown that macromolecules without support do not penetrate the human skin.

This effect can be achieved using physical and chemical methods, as well as biological peptides.

The most popular physical method is the use of microneedles to create micropores in the skin and release the active agent in different sections. But also, other methods have been tested. Microjets, lasers, electroporation, sonophoresis and iontophoresis are also promising methods to successfully deliver dermal and transdermal macromolecules. Additionally, there are different penetration enhancer groups and biological peptides, which are also considered to be interesting approaches of enabling macromolecules to travel along the skin.

All these methods will be described and evaluated in this review article.

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