Opportunities for laser-assisted drug delivery in the treatment of cutaneous disorders

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Abstract

Fractional laser-assisted drug delivery (LADD) is increasingly finding its way into clinical practice as a new means to enhance topical drug uptake and improve treatment of cutaneous disorders. To date, LADD has been used for a wide range of conditions, including photodamaged skin, neoplastic lesions, scars, cutaneous infections, and vitiligo as well as for topical anesthetic and aesthetic procedures. Substantiated by randomized controlled clinical trials, strong evidence is available for LADD’s usefulness for photodynamic therapy (PDT), for which improved efficacy using laser-assisted photosensitizer treatment is established for actinic keratosis compared with conventional PDT. Over time, the modality has undergone increasing refinement and offers the potential advantages of reduced treatment durations, shortened incubation times, and the replacement of cumbersome, patient-dependent treatment regimens with quick, in-office procedures. Notwithstanding, LADD is still a new enhancement technique, and risks of both local and systemic adverse events are insufficiently explored. With conscientious development, however, LADD promises to improve existing regimens and make new pharmacological treatments a reality for a wide range of cutaneous disorders.

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