Novel dissolving microneedles for enhanced transdermal delivery of levonorgestrel:In vitroandin vivocharacterization

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Dissolving microneedles (DMN) have been studied as a drug delivery system to enhance the transport of drug molecules across the skin with almost no pain. However, the poor dissolving ability of microneedles in the skin and low drug loading have limited their potential application. The aim of this study was to develop a novel dissolving microneedle system with improved dissolving ability for the delivery of poorly water soluble contraception drug, levonorgestrel (LNG). Chitosan and beta-sodium glycerophosphate (β-GP) were incorporated in the formulation of microneedles. It was found that 69.32 ± 4.23% of the microneedles penetrated through the skin and dissolved within the first 2 h, which was almost 2-fold higher than that of the conventional microneedles. In addition, drug loading was significantly increased by packaging LNG into the molecules of hydroxypropyl beta cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) to form LNG-HP-β-CD inclusion compounds. The use of chitosan and β-GP together with HP-β-CD inclusion compounds was shown to enhance the bioavailability of LNG transdermally. This novel DMN system resulted in a similar pharmacokinetic profile as that following oral administration. In addition to similar Cmax and AUC values, drug concentrations in the blood were more consistent following the DMN in comparison to oral administration.

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